How to Untangle Christmas Lights

Follow these simple tips to keep your holiday lights from getting into a knot! Photo by Conor.B

The thanksgiving turkey is gone and its time to get ready for Christmas. Time to spend with your family getting the holiday decorations down from the attic, drinking a little eggnog by the fire and get busy putting up the Christmas tree and outdoor lights!

But for most of us, untangling the Christmas lights ranks as the worst task involved in decorating for the holidays. It's such a tedious chore and one you may avoid by just buying new lights if you’re lazy like me. But with a little preparation and knowledge, untangling the lights doesn’t have to be so difficult.

Read on for some simple tips on how to get your lights untangled in a jiffy:

  1. Get relaxed and set your mind on the task at hand. Put on your favorite holiday music or Christmas video and pull up your most comfortable armchair.
  2. Get all your Christmas decor boxes out of storage and together. Dig out all the lights, separating them by the location each type will be located in or outside the house.
  3. If your lights were stored like mine were in years past, start by laying all the strings out on the floor. If you have new lights in the package, you get to skip this step!
  4. Make sure everything is unplugged first and try to find a free end to start upon.
  5. Try to loosen the knots, unwinding the free end through the tangles. Never force or rush too quickly or you are likely to break bulbs. Take your time and place the untangled part of the strand on the floor, keeping it away from the tangled strands.
  6. As you get more of the strand free, be sure the untangled portion trails away from the bunch to avoid re-tangling.
  7. Once you have a strand completely untangled, lay it out in a straight line, away from other strands. You will want to plug it in and test it before putting it in place.
  8. When hanging lights on your Christmas tree, it helps to have one person do the actual hanging and arranging of lights, while another helps feed the strands to keep them from tangling.
  9. When the holidays are over and its time to put your lights away, don’t cram lights into the original packages or you'll have a huge tangle to deal with next holiday season!
  10. The best way to prevent tangling is to coil the strands around a stiff piece of cardboard before boxing them. Wind one strand per piece of cardboard.
  11. To protect your Christmas lights during storage, you can wrap the winded strands in tissue paper and put each bundle in a bag. Gently set each bundle into a box.
  12. If you label the box, then you can quickly find your tree lights, interior decorating lights and outdoor lights next holiday season without dreading the old “light untangling” exercise altogether!

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