9 Handy Holiday Decorating Tips

If there's a chill in the air, that means the holidays are coming! Check out this collection of clever hints and tips that will make your holiday decorating faster, easier and more fun!

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Wreath hanging hack HH handy hint command hook
Family Handyman

Wreath Hanging Hack

Typically, we rely on everything from metal wreath holders to staples, nails and even thumbtacks to affix holiday wreaths to our front doors. Here are 12 DIY Christmas wreath ideas that are easy and festive. Problem is, all of these familiar hanging methods leave marks and scars.

Skip those old methods and try a less damaging tactic — removable plastic hooks. Place an upside-down Command hook on the interior side of your door, loop your wreath’s ribbon or some fishing line around the hook and drape it over the front of the door. You can also use a wreath hanger for an easier way to hang your wreath. Plus, check out these outrageous outdoor holiday decorations and get in the holiday spirit.

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Family Handyman

Easy-Clip Tree Ornaments

The wire hooks that come with Christmas tree ornaments can be hard to use and may scratch the ornaments. Instead of wire hangers, use plastic-coated paper clips to hang your ornaments. The paper clips are stronger and easy to use. Best of all, they won’t scratch, so you can leave them attached when you pack the ornaments away at the end of each season.

Don’t want to deal with a traditional Christmas tree this year? Check out these ingenious Christmas tree alternatives.

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Use a Christmas Light Tester to Check Holiday Lights

Use a Christmas Light Tester to Check Holiday Lights

Find a holiday light problem and fix it fast with this tester and repairer. You don’t have to test every bulb! A simple tester helps you fix holiday light strings fast. Here’s how to fix your Christmas lights. Bonus holiday tip: If you don’t want to spend your weekend hanging strings of light bulbs, consider a Christmas light projector that’s quick and easy to install.

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clothespins for hanging christmas lights
Family Handyman

Holiday Light Hangers

Instead of poking nails into aluminum soffits and fascia when you’re hanging holiday lights, clip the wires to the bottom lip with clothespins. But be careful on the ladder. Avoid heart-stopping ladder experiences with these expert ladder safety tips.

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Lighting Tips

Test your lights with a Christmas light tester before stringing them on the tree. When the season is over, coil them into a five-gallon bucket to keep them tangle-free for next year.

Need a better way to store extension cords? Check out this great storage idea.

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NOV_2006_028_T_01 zip tie christmas decorations

Zip-Tie Your Decorations

Zip ties are a simple way to string holiday lights on banisters and fences without marring the railing with nail marks. After the holidays, snip the ties off with scissors.

Plus, see our favorite ideas for how to decorate your home for Christmas.

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christmas tree lights bulb tester
Family Handyman

How to Repair Christmas Tree Lights

Burned-out holiday lights, even the cheap kind, are often fixable with a small investment of time and money. Here’s how to diagnose and fix common problems.

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FH98DJA_GUTTER_01_02_03 hanging lights from gutters
Family Handyman

Handy Light Hanging Hack

If your home has gutters, you can hang lights from them without leaving the ground. All you need are an eight-foot 1×2, a strong magnet and some galvanized steel plumber’s hanger straps. Cut the hanger strap into seven-inch sections, bend the sections into hooks, and attach the hooks to the string of lights every five feet or so. Here’s how to make this light hanger.

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Family Handyman

Easy Outdoor Light Control

The glow of outdoor holiday lights is cheerful, but going out in the cold to plug them in and unplug them is a pain. But if you use an outdoor remote control switch, you can do it from inside your home or car. Just plug the switch into any outdoor outlet and use the small transmitter to control it.

Outdoor lights aren’t just for Christmas. Learn more about year-round outdoor lighting here.