When it comes to decorating your Christmas tree with lights, one of the most common questions is “How many feet of lights do I need for my tree?” The answer depends on a few factors, including the height of your tree and how full you want the coverage to be.
For a typical 6 foot Christmas tree, you will need approximately 100 feet of lights to achieve full coverage with enough lights left over for any rearrangements. This allows for vertically wrapping the tree about 3 times from top to bottom.
Calculating Feet of Lights Needed
To get a more accurate estimate for your specific tree, there is a simple calculation:
- Measure the height of your Christmas tree in feet. For this example, the height is 6 feet.
- Multiply the height by 3. This covers wrapping the tree vertically about 3 times from top to bottom.
- 6 feet x 3 = 18 feet of lights needed
So for a typical 6 foot tree, you would need around 18 feet of lights. But it’s always best to get slightly more than calculated to account for any adjustments or gaps you may need to fill in. Most lighting experts recommend getting at least 100 feet of lights for a 6 foot Christmas tree to achieve optimal coverage.
Factors that Affect Amount of Lights Needed
There are a few variables that can affect the amount of Christmas lights needed for your tree:
- Tree Height: The taller the tree, the more lights will be required. An 8 foot tree will need significantly more than a 4 foot tree.
- Fullness of Tree: A fuller, denser tree requires more lights than a sparser tree of the same height. You’ll need to accommodate all the full branches.
- Light Type: Larger C9 bulb lights take up more space on the tree compared to mini lights. If using C9, you may need up to 25% more feet of lights.
- Light Size: Lights are available in different diameters. Larger bulb diameters like C9 take up more space than smaller miniature lights.
- Light Density: Do you want a more dense look with lights closely packed together? That requires more lights than spacing them further apart.
All these factors can result in needing more or less feet of Christmas lights for full tree coverage. It’s best to do some simple measurements and calculations for your specific tree rather than relying on rules of thumb.
Lighting Layout Techniques
Once you’ve purchased enough lights, the fun part is decorating your Christmas tree! Here are some popular lighting techniques:
This is the most common and straightforward approach. Start at the top of the tree and work your way vertically down, wrapping the lights in circles repeatedly from top to bottom. Try to slightly overlap each revolution to avoid any gaps.
For a different look, you can zigzag the lights diagonally down and around the tree from top to bottom. This creates more of a spiral effect than straight vertical circles.
Front to Back Wrapping
Wrap the lights horizontally in rings from front to back rather than top to bottom. You can start at either the bottom or top of the tree depending on preference.
Get creative by combining different techniques on one tree! You can zigzag lights from top to bottom and then wrap horizontal rings front to back for additional coverage.
Calculating Feet of Lights on Pre-Lit Trees
If you purchased a pre-lit artificial Christmas tree, the lights are already included but you may still be wondering just how many feet are on there. Here’s how to estimate the feet of lights:
- Count the number of light strands on your pre-lit tree
- Multiply the number of strands by the standard length (typically between 6-8 feet per strand)
For example, if your pre-lit tree has 40 light strands that are each 7 feet long, multiply 40 by 7 to get 280 feet of total lights.
When buying Christmas lights for your tree, here are some recommendations:
- Purchase at least 100 lights per foot of tree height for ideal coverage. It’s better to have extra than not enough.
- Opt for LED over incandescent lights which tend to burn out quicker. LEDs also use less energy.
- Choose mini or C7 size lights which provide more coverage than larger C9 bulbs.
- Buy matching tree topper and replacement bulbs at the same time as your lights.
- Look for weatherproof cords and connections if using lights outdoors.
Storing Lights Properly
To keep your Christmas lights nice for years to come, be sure to store them properly after the holidays:
- Unwrap lights carefully from the tree rather than ripping them off.
- Check for any damaged cords or bulbs and discard or replace as needed.
- Neatly wrap strands around cardboard or plastic organizers to prevent tangling.
- Secure ends with zip ties, twist ties or Velcro ties so they don’t come undone.
- Place lights in sealable plastic bins and store in a cool, dry place.
Troubleshooting Light Issues
Dealing with light issues on your Christmas tree? Here are some troubleshooting tips:
|Lights not turning on
|Blown fuse, faulty plug, loose bulb
|Check fuses, replace plugs, tighten bulbs
|Lights blinking on and off
|Loose connection, overloaded circuit
|Check connections, reduce lights plugged in
|Only some lights working
|Bulb burnt out, broken wire
|Locate bad bulb, check wires for damage
|Sparking from cords or plugs
|Exposed wires, water damage
|Tape up exposed areas, keep cords dry
Be sure to unplug lights before attempting any troubleshooting. And never overload extension cords or power strips with too many lights plugged in. Preventing damage and hazards is most important!
LED vs. Incandescent Christmas Lights
When purchasing Christmas lights, you’ll typically choose between LED and incandescent bulbs. Here’s a comparison:
|Last longer – up to 10 years
|Shorter lifespan – replace yearly
|More energy efficient
|Use more electricity
|Do not burn out as easily
|Prone to burned out bulbs
|Stay cool to touch
|Get hot when in use
|Have plastic construction
|Made of glass bulbs
|Come in wide color variety
|Mostly white or multicolor
While LED lights do have a higher upfront cost, they save money and hassle in the long run thanks to their superior longevity and efficiency. That’s why LED Christmas lights continue to grow in popularity each holiday season.
Determining how many feet of Christmas lights you need for your tree is easy with some simple measurements and calculations. Plan for at least 100 lights per foot of tree height for best coverage. And always buy a few extra strings – it’s better to have too many than not enough! Follow these tips and your tree will be looking bright, beautiful and festive for seasons to come.