The Art of Lighting a Christmas Tree: Vertical vs. Horizontal

***2012 Update! *** Check out my strand-by-strand tutorial of what I did this year! And a great video of the end result! This is the link here.**

Hello Darlings!
I hope you are all enjoying the beginning of a wonderful holiday season! I certainly am.  I have been reading up on lots of holiday decorating tips and ideas, and came across an interesting idea that had never occurred to me: HANGING YOUR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS VERTICALLY.  I can honestly say a light bulb went off in my head after reading that. It makes sense, how come I’ve never heard of it? Well who knows the answer to that, but more importantly does it make a difference?  Some light research on the matter seems to say it DOES make a difference which way you hang your lights, as big time pro decorators all seem to use the vertical light hanging method. Being the hands on person that I am I had to try it out for myself and compare! Before I show you my findings, check out the picture below, I made it to try and quickly (and hopefully easily!) explain the difference between the two ways of hanging Christmas tree lights:
A quick and easy comparison of hanging Christmas Lights Vertically vs. Horizontally
So now to my little experiment. In this test I used one strand of basic clear lights and decided to try hanging them in both the horizontal and vertical methods. As with any experiment, you need a base, so here is what the tree looks like (fresh from the lot!) with no lights on it at all:
Pre Lights

Now let’s take a look at the results:

House & Tree Lights On:
House & Tree Lights

Tree Lights Only:
Tree Lights Only

Horizontal Lights Bokeh:
Horizontal Lights Bokeh


House & Tree Lights On:
House & Tree Lights On

Tree Lights Only:
Tree Lights Only
Hopefully you can see the difference in the hanging. The horizontal lights create an obvious swirl effect (as seen in the pictures) leaving gaps of tree in the dark, and would probably be difficult to fill in with extra lights.  The vertical light method, which seemed more time intensive, appears to be the give most comprehensive coverage. (Note that towards the bottom right is where the strand ran out of lights!) Additionally, it was easier than walking around and around the tree hoping you got in the right set of branches.
My final choice was actually both methods. I did the very base of the tree (towards the inside) using the vertical method, splitting up the tree into portions as I put the lights on.  I don’t know if I was just being more thorough this way, but I THINK that this method, because it covers more tree, MAY require slightly more lights for complete coverage. After the initial part of the tree was covered in a vertical manner, I did another layer in color lights using the horizontal method.  A small strand of what I found out later to be blinking lights got put on the bottom of the tree (the damn things must be defective somewhere, they have all sorts of different blinking patterns and are totally random!) last. I think I like the mixed method best, however I certainly have learned to appreciate the benefits of hanging the lights vertically!
Here are some of the finished pictures from that night’s lighting:

And a quick video (Sorry about the direction!) just to give you more visual aid!

If you have ANY questions, comments or just need to more explaining, feel free to comment, message me on Facebook or email me at!
Good luck! And make sure to share this with your friends, teach ‘em something new this holiday season!
The Sparkle Queen

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