How to adorn your house with festive fairy lights
If you're planning a light show on the outside of your home this Christmas, Amar Mehta reveals the rules to live by.
There was a time when outdoor Christmas lights only appeared on high streets and town squares. But now, more and more of us are jazzing up our homes with strings of dazzling bulbs, illuminated Santas, fake reindeers - and even a sleigh on the roof, in some cases.
Whether you think the trend is more garish than great is a matter of opinion - we're big fans of some festive flash - but if you are going to bling-up your house with outdoor Christmas lights, you might want to follow some basic 'rules'.
Here are our dos and don'ts for putting Christmas lights on the outside of your home:
1. Don't leave your lights on the fast setting overnight
Yes, the rave setting might be fun for five minutes, but no one wants to be kept awake at night because a neighbour's roof won't stop flashing.
2. On a similar note, don't blind your neighbours, either
While bright lights might fit in nicely with the theme, too much dazzle might be a recipe for disaster - and no one wants to fallout with next door over Christmas.
3. Don't go too over the top
OK, so it might seem like a competition to see who can create the biggest and brightest Christmas showstopper on your street, but sometimes less is more.
4. Do match the extension cords to the environment
These small details can make a massive difference in how the decorations will look. Using a white extension cable on a tree will draw attention to the cable, not the main event.
5. Do use energy-efficient bulbs
LED lights last longer and are more eco-friendly.
6. Don't leave your lights on all day
Not only will it drain energy and possibly result in a whopping electricity bill, what's the point having them on when there aren't many people around, or when it's daylight and no one can really see them anyway?
7. Do get some inspiration
Unsure how to outdo Number 27 down the road this year? Go online and see what others have done to gather up some new ideas.
8. Do think about adding music
OK, so we told you not to go too overboard, but it is Christmas after all - why not sync your lights to music?
9. Do use other decorations too
The lights might be the main attraction, but a few frolicking reindeer on the lawn, maybe a Santa climbing up the drainpipe... now you're talking!
10. Do take your lights down once Christmas is over
Seriously, leaving your lights out until February (or all year round) is not a good look.
On a final note, all jokes aside, pay close attention to safety and always ensure you're using appropriate lighting products and following guidelines.