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Thursday, November 20, 2014

DIY: Christmas Lights on a Budget!

Do you want to know something about my family?

In our area, we're known as The Christmas Light People. When we first started going to our church, when people asked Jesse or I where we lived they'd simply nod their head and say "Oh, the Christmas Lights House".... yup, that's it!

Every year, for as long as I can remember - we've put Christmas lights up on our house. They've changed over the years but without fail, there's always lights up on our house at Christmas time. 

Last year, for the very first time we almost didn't have them up - and we had so many questions from people in the street! "We're waiting for your Christmas lights!", "When are you putting your Christmas lights up this year?", "You still live in the big yellow house, right? You don't have your Christmas lights up!" "It's not Christmas without your lights".

Work had gotten in the way and we got to mid December and we stilllll didn't have lights up - but one weekend of hard work and they were up - and the cute Christmas thank you cards from kids in our street started turning up in our letterbox. 

This year, we decided to do things differently - we decided to put our Christmas lights up last weekend whilst we had some time off before work gets too busy and we run out of time to put them up! 

But let me tell you more about them! 

We headed to The Reject Shop this year for our lights as we knew we could get a wide variety of different lights and decorate our house without spending a fortune

There was heaps to choose from, but the first thing that caught my eye were the The Indoor/Outdoor LED Star Icicle Lights. For $15 a set and 3m long, I knew they'd be perfect for around our bay window and something a little bit different. 

Jesse carefully hung the lights around our bay window. A few years ago we attached tiny little screw hooks (like this) around the edges of the bay window and the eaves of our roof to make it easier to hang lights.

All we had to do was loop the lights over the hooks and fasten them with a cable tie. As the lights were a tiny bit longer than our bay window, so we ended up fastening them in-between the hooks with a staple gun to make sure they were nice and tidy.  You don't need hooks and staples though, an easier less permanent option is electrical tape!

Since we already had the Star Icicle Lights, I decided that the regular Indoor/Outdoor Icicle Lights would be perfect for running around our garage. I picked up two packs of the 400 light sets (each 6m long) which perfectly fit around our garage. In order to join the two together, we put up one set and once we reached the end of that, started the next set in reverse (starting from the power pack, rather than the light end) so that we could tie the powerpacks together and run them into the garage for power. 

Our garage also has the tiny little screw hooks around the eaves so we used those to attach the icicles, securing them with a staple gun in between the hooks where needed. 

We have a beautiful big gumtree out the front of our house which is perfect for decorating. Whilst I'd love a big bushy tree to hang giant baubles on (3 for $6 at The Reject Shop), we make do with our gumtree by winding rope lights around the limbs. The Rope Lights are $xxx a set (xxxm long) and we just wound them tightly around the tree limbs, fastening each end in a loop with some cable ties. 

But then we needed some extra fun little details - two packs of the Solar Powered Candy Cane Garden Stakes (4 for $15) to line the garden were the perfect fit!

The Candy Canes are super simple to put in - simply push them into the ground and leave your solar charger in a place where it will get light during the day. 

The Candy Canes will turn on automatically as soon as it's dark and turn off once it's light so you don't even need to worry about turning them on!

Our Tips for Putting Up Christmas Lights 
  1. Do what works for your house - not anyone elses
    Everyone's house is different.... well.... most houses. Just like clothes don't always look the same on you as your best friend, Christmas lights aren't going to look the same on your house as they do on Joe Blow's. Think about what is going to work for your house before you head out shopping! 
  2. Start out small
    Our Christmas lights have grown over the years - each year we add on new places or replace old pieces that are broken. If you're putting up Christmas lights for the first time, don't overload yourself! You can always add some more later.
  3. Stay safe!
    If you're up on ladders or climbing on top of things, you need to make sure you watch your footing and act carefully! Your lights aren't going to look at all good from a hospital bed!

    Be careful when playing with power - and also make sure you have a way of powering your lights inside or undercover as you can't have transformers out in the weather. 
  4. Know your lights
    There's a type of light for every nook and cranny of your house and yard. For example;
    - Rope lights are great for outlining windows ($xx at The Reject Shop)
    - Fairy lights are perfect for bushes or shrubs
    - Candy Canes and fun pieces like TRS's Motorised Reindeers add a bit of interest and fun ($15 for 4 Candy Canes or $45 for the Motorised Reindeer)
    - Icicle Lights are great for attaching under the eaves of your roof.

    Think about where your lights are going to go and what lights will work best so that you get the right kinds!
  5. Test your lights!
    This is especially important if you're re-using lights from the year before. Be sure to test every light before you put it up. This saves time and energy because the last thing you want to do is switch your lights on after spending all day hanging them and find that half of them aren't working.
  6. Use a sturdy ladder
    You wouldn't walk across a river on a rickety old bridge (at least I'd hope not!) so why would you climb up on a rickety old ladder. Ensure your ladder (if using) is safe and sturdy and that you have someone there to help hold it steady as you hang lights. 
  7. Enlist some helpers!
    Perhaps the most important tip - don't do it alone! This isn't only for safety reasons, you'll get the job done a lot quicker and you'll have someone there as an extra pair of eyes. 
  8. Hit the switch! 
    Turn your lights off before going to bed - and don't leave them on whilst you're away from home. Alternatively, think about attaching them to a timer so you don't have to worry about forgetting to turn them off!
And there you have it! Some tips from my family to yours! When I was a kid, one of my favourite Christmas traditions was going around and looking at Christmas lights in our neighbourhood - and now one of my favourite things is watching the smiles on little kids faces as they look at ours! 

But tell me, do you decorate your home with lights for Christmas?
Do you head out to check out the Christmas lights in your area?

This is a sponsored post for The Reject Shop. All opinions expressed in this post are entirely Kristy and Jesse's own and the project and printables have been developed solely by them. If you're interested in working with us on a sponsored post, please contact us for more information


  1. I'm in love with those pale blue lights, Kristy! Greg loooooves having lights up but there never seems to be a good time to work on them, and uhhhh I'm pretty cheap when it comes to holiday decor hahaha. (poor Greg) So, we usually end up doing half of a good job! And i had no idea there were all these names for different lights.

  2. Hahaha, that is too funny :P Christmas is my FAVOUUUUUURITE holiday so we tend to go all out :P

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