Christmas FAQ's for decorating

When you're decorating for the holidays anything goes!
So take our answers to these frequently asked questions as suggestions only -nothing is written in stone when it comes to display!
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We supply lights for display purposes. We offer high-end light strings with "super bright" 200 MA bulbs and polybag packaging for display. (we also offer traditional box packs)

Our lights are used in the most critical design areas and must meet rigid guide lines. We offer our "super bright" 200 MA bulbs with shunted bulbs: if a bulb burns out, the string stays on. We have locking tabs on each bulb. Our 30" lead wire allows you to "cross" to another branch without additional lights. We use 20 gauge wire. Our lights meet the 17th Edition UL standards for both indoor and outdoor use.

Sub-miniature lights have the most elegant, sparkling effect for trees, wreaths, garland, etc. There are 50, 100 and 150 light strings for a variety of uses. They are available in clear, solid colors or multi bulbs. Wire is often available in Green or White.

Check the outside of the light box. The maximum recommended amount of lights that you can safely connect together depends upon the length of the light string/quantity of bulbs and will be listed there.

A) Start at the top of the tree and work your way down in a circle around the tree. Wrap each branch of your tree starting at the trunk working to the end of the branches, instead of stringing them around the circumference of the tree.

Q) How many lights do you put on a tree?

These are ROUGH guidelines. They will not work for every tree style. They are based on a traditional, full tree.

A) Approximate number of lights needed to decorate your tree are: 100- light bulbs per foot for medium lighting, 200 for heavy ("mall displays")lighting

  • 3' Tree: 300-600 Lights
  • 4' Tree: 400-800 Lights
  • 5' Tree: 500-1000 Lights
  • 6' Tree: 600-1200 Lights
  • 7' Tree: 700-1400 Lights,
  • 100-200 Lights for each foot over 7'.

Note: We think it's always better to have more than not enough...

A) To figure out how many amps of power you are using:

Add the total WATTS and divide by source VOLTAGE.
Example: A string of 25 lights that have 7 watt bulbs would be (25 Bulbs X 7 Watts = 175 Watts. 175 watts Divided by 110 volts = 1.59 Amps.)

Q) Why are all of the lights on my string out or why are half out and half on?

TIP: Replace burned out bulbs as soon as possible, as they will cause other bulbs to overheat and will reduce the life of these bulbs.

A)If the instructions on your mini lights state "If one bulb burns out the rest stay lit." and any part of string does not light attempt the following:

~Firmly push each bulb into the base to secure it in the socket (occasionally bulbs will loosen).

~ Remove each bulb and base from the socket. Straighten the wires which extend from the bottom of the base, then bend around the base. Insert the bulb firmly into the socket.

~ Check to make sure the fuse in the plug did not overload (if there is one). If it was overloaded, then replace the fuse in the first set and all of the sets will re-light.

What if half of your mini/icicle light string is out? Then, your light string is wired in a "1/2 and 1/2 series". That means that if you have a break in the circuit, the half of the string in which the break occurs will appear "burnt out". Follow the steps outlined above to get the 1/2 lit again.

A) There are a number of factors which determine your display's `brightness`. If you are running a long extension cord, lots of energy is lost to resistance in the wire. When running cords a large distance, use 16 gauge wire or better. Also, the wire used in light strings is not capable of handling excessive amounts of current. Therefore, string the recommended amount of lights together and then add another extension cord. Finally, check to make sure you have sufficient power for the display you are setting up. Go to the question:

"How do I figure out how many amps of electricity I am drawing with my circuit?" and be sure you have sufficient amps on your circuit.

A) The main reason that light manufacturers' install fuses in the male end of Christmas lights is to prevent an overload. When you connect too many strings together you blow a fuse and the lights go out. The way around this problem is to break up the electrical load travelling through the wires of the light strings. Go by the manufacturers suggested light run and then add an extension cord for the next run of light strings.

A) In the past decade, there have been a number of great color films introduced to the marketplace that offer high speed - ISO 800 and higher - with very little grain. Although we don't endorse any particular film, the experts have found two particularly good films to capture your holiday display. These include Fuji Super G 800 and Kodak Gold Max. In addition, most photographers today rely on auto-exposure with their point-and-shoot cameras.

Unlike the light meters of old cameras, which were often "fooled" by low-light situations, today's light meters in auto-exposure cameras are able to give good readings even in low light. This is an important point because holiday lights usually look their best when shot without added light. In fact, this is "Rule One" when it comes to getting good pictures of lights: For most pictures of holiday lights, turn off your strobe! Note the word "most." There are a few occasions when you will want to add light, but for the most part, you won't.

A) For a twinkly effect use subminiature outdoor UL rated lights. For a more dramatic effect mix with size C-7 or C-9 sets. For a stylized look use light rope or chasing light rope.

Note: C-7 or C-9 sets are made for outdoor decorating. And, at 125 and 175 watts per string, they produce the largest illumination, and the longest life.

A) It is believed that the first Christmas lights were produced around 1880, containing a carbon-type lamp. The Christmas lights which we are familiar with today, were not developed until around 1923. It was in 1923 that the first filament based light strings were manufactured.

 A) Use plastic light hooks or clips to secure lights to gutters. Clips may be used in conjunction with Shingle Tabs to provide a stable and removable method of installing perimeter lighting. Hooks and clips can be applied to any flat building surface and the lights simply slide into place. Shingle Tabs provide a stable platform for bulb and socket installation. Used independently, these tabs are the only hardware needed to fit exterior lighting ot shingled roofs and may be used with C-7 and C-9 bulbs. Screw holes allow for screw installation or glue with construction-grade exterior adhesive to soft roof surfaces.

Where a gable roof is present with metal facia, special shingle tabs can be purchased to allow you to mount lights. These slide below the shingles, without damage. If none of these clips will work for your situation, special sticky tabs can be purchased and affixed to any smooth surface. These allow you to insert a nylon cable tie to hold the lights in place.

A) When you use indoor/outdoor lights outside you should not have a problem with rain, snow, etc. The manufacturers take care in weather-proofing the lights to prevent shorts. However, you may have a problem with your extension cords. With outdoor extension chords, don't wrap the connections with anything. Wrapping the connection can trap moisture, causing a type of electrical show that you really don't want!

A) No. Hire an electrician to install separate circuits specifically for your lights. This way if you overload the outdoor circuit you will still have power to the inside of your building. If you run them off of an inside plug, you run the risk of overloading it and that WHOLE circuit will turn off blacking out your building.

A) We say NEVER! But you are limited by your circuits and outlets. Hire a good electrician to install the extra circuits you need and have fun! Your customers will look forward to your light displays, so start a tradition today!

A) Light, medium, heavy. The quantity of trim is determined by your budget and imagination. A traditional look may be heavier than a simple, contemporary design. However, for standard "mall" displays look below for average quantities.

A) For standard "mall" displays the average quantities are:
10 ornaments per foot up to 9 feet. Over 9 feet use 12-16 per foot
Example 8ft=80 ornaments
Above 9 feet you'll need more ornaments for a full look.
10ft=100 ornaments
12ft=144 ornaments

A) For standard "mall" displays the average quantities are:
Single-Sided Wreath.
3ft Wreath=300 lights, 26 ornaments, (1) 18" bow
4ft Wreath=400 lights, 34 ornaments, (1) 24" bow
Double-Sided Wreath
3ft Wreath=600 lights, 38 ornaments, (2) 18" bow
4ft Wreath=800 lights, 46 ornaments, (2) 24" bow

A) Garland widths may vary from 10" up to 24" wide. Our average display width is 14" wide.For standard "mall" displays the average quantities for a standard length of garland 9 feet long x 14" wide is:

9ftL x 14"W= 400 lights, 16 ornaments, (2) 24" bows

A) For standard "mall" displays the average is:

3ft Spray=300 lights, 8 ornaments, (1) 18" bow
4ft Spray=400 lights, 10 ornaments, (1) 24" bow