Getting your home ready for the holidays can be one of the most fun things you’ll do all year – if you do it right. Gathering the family together on a wintry evening to witness all of your hard work, when you turn everything on, is what memories are made of.

Nearly six thousand people are admitted to the hospital each year, however, for injuries related to attaching holiday decorations to the outsides of their homes. So stay safe and enjoy this holiday season by following these four, straightforward tips for how to properly hang lights:

1. Hang holidays lights on a windless day when the weather is dry. Please use extreme caution and make sure a second person is on hand any time you mount a ladder, especially in wet conditions. Climbing the rungs of a ladder during a downpour is dangerous, even when you’re not carrying a limp cardboard box overflowing with holiday decorations.

2. Work in stages, around a plan. Before the day upon which you plan to actually put up your festive lights, lay some groundwork by staging reliable extension cords in strategic spots and firmly attaching any necessary hooks or hangers. Chances are you’ve got a busy schedule, so working in stages can help you fit in your decorating duties around the rest of the day. Planning out which lights go where and making sure you’ve got enough of them to go around can save unnecessary trips to the store and back. Anchoring your holiday lights correctly will keep you from climbing around on ladders to fix things, later on.

3. Test your lights before they go up. Few things in life are as frustrating as spending hours hanging a string of lights only to find they don’t work. Opting for shorter strings of lights will cut down on the amount of time needed to pull out any section that might decide to stop working. Decrease the risk of moisture intrusion by using duct or electrical tape to seal the connectors that attach one string of lights to its neighbor.

4. Use appropriate materials. Avoid overloading any one socket by plugging all your lights into it. Also make sure to use an extension cord that’s thick enough to power all the lights it’s supposed to supply energy to without overheating or causing a fire. Select extension cords that are rated for outdoor use and tested by an independent industrial body such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL).With some foresight and diligence, the ritual of hanging holiday lights can be a fun and safe time for everyone involved.

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