Every year, you put your best Christmas ornaments on the “show” side of the tree, and leave your lesser-favored baubles — like that papier-mâché Santa your nephew made in pre-school — for the back. (Sorry you had to find out like this, Timmy.)
So why are you still hanging lights evenly around both the front and the back?
If you haven’t decorated your tree yet, you might want to consider an idea that’s gaining traction on social media — hanging your Christmas lights vertically, instead of wrapping them around the branches horizontally.
According to the decorating gurus who champion this trend, hanging your lights from top-to-bottom not only saves you from having to waste too many lights on the back of the tree, but it also allows the bulbs to sit closer to the tips of the branches for maximum sparkle. Experts claim it’s a lot easier to un-string the lights after the holidays, too.
The idea has been circulating for a while now, but most recently started trending on TikTok, where user Clare Hooper demonstrated “the right way to do lights” in a video that has since been viewed millions of times.
Hooper, who claims that “decorating Christmas trees” used to be a part of her job, recommended stringing lights in a “zig-zag” method from top-to-bottom and then bottom-to-top, saying it provides more coverage where needed.
“And if a set breaks, you can take them off really easily,” she added.
Hooper’s method, as mentioned above, isn’t entirely new. Designer and decorator Francesco Bilotto has been promoting this method for years, suggesting a similar top-to-bottom, s-shaped approach, per Today and House Beautiful. David Stark, an event designer in NYC, had also revealed to Real Simple that vertical lights are his preferred “trick.” (Real Simple further alleges that the Christmas tree in NYC’s Rockefeller Center is lighted vertically, though a representative for Rockefeller Center was not immediately available to confirm.)
No matter how you decorate your tree, however, one thing is certain: You should refrain from keeping any stray owls or koalas in the branches at all costs, despite these critters (the former, especially) becoming “trendy” new fixtures for 2020.