Let there be Lights!

It’s Christmas lights. If the timing of how some homeowners began hanging them this year is any indication, it was mid-October. We’re so anxious for holiday cheer.

You will most likely choose subtle displays. Others will attempt to surpass their neighbors and create winter wonderland scenes that are so bright that aliens can see them (assuming they’re there) from faraway galaxies.

“When I pass a suburban house festooned with twinkly, colored fairy lights, I always scream ‘Bravo’ out of the window of my car,”Simon Doonan has acknowledged that he is the creative ambassador for Barneys New York.

Here are some safety tips to remember:

* Never hang lights from your roof’s shingles. “Making even the tiniest of holes in them or any roof component — even with a stapler — will let moisture or leaks in, and potentially rot the roof,”Jason Joplin, the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence’s program manager, said: Instead, hang clips from the gutter or eaves.

* Metallic trees require special care. Hanging electric lights on metallic trees is a great idea! “The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights,”The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns “and any person touching a branch could be electrocuted.”You should use colored spotlights above and beside them.

* Embrace the buddy system. Although they may have been drinking spiked eggnog, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that holiday decorating-related falls result in 6,000 visits to emergency rooms each year. Let’s not forget that most of those injured are men, and most of them fall from ladders. “Asking someone to hold the ladder for you, whether you’re stringing lights on a roof or a tall tree, isn’t wussy.”

* Don’t Let ‘er Rip: Even worse than being that one house on the block that never gets around to taking down decorations till spring is this: disassembling by haphazardly pulling lights off your roof from the cord. “You risk damaging the gutter that way,”Joplin: “and potentially the shingle if you didn’t clip it correctly to begin with.”

You might consider hiring someone to help you plan elaborate displays.
A pro. GAF (gaf.com)North America’s largest roof manufacturer makes it easy for you to locate the most reliable (and insured) in your area. You can search its website. GAF Master Elite Contractor database.
Oh, and to make it more interesting, stagger two sets to increase the density.