There are strings, nets, ropes in solid, blinking or other showy displays. The colours are just as varied as your style and taste! But for simplicity sake white LED, or clear incandescent, are my go to types. The latter hold a special place in my heart for nothing beats that incandescent sparkle of clear minis!
White/clear is versatile and can be used for any colour theme . Just be careful with LED’s as they feature cool white , which is better with cool red decor, and warm whites/warm red ornaments. Commercially it was easier instead of having to keep track of and carry spare strings/light bulbs of every colour in case of emergency. The newer LED’s are now able to be replaced individually and makes it easier for me to accept them. I'm slowly warming to them!
Safety first: Never mix LED and incandescent in serial (pluged into each other) or on a single circuit (extension cord). Always read the instructions and warning labels that come with your lights. Each manufacturer will have different rules about how many you can connect together. Incandescent with higher wattage will require an multi outlet extension cord at the base of the tree.
How many lights?
The WOW rule of thumb is 100 lights per foot of tree. That’s a lot of light and to be honest a bit blinding for my taste. Your tree will look more like an alien spaceship landing than a joyful celebration. I’d say somewhere between 50 and 75 per foot is more manageable and let’s face it, easier on the wallet. Look for the distance between bulbs listed on the box. Some are 4” other 6”. That makes a big difference on how many you can fit on a tree without too much wiring to hide. The more space between gives you a bit more control in placement.
With 15 years of professional tree decorating, my trick is to plug in the lights while stringing them on. It may seem strange to start from the bottom and work your way up, but there’s nothing more disappointing than discovering faulty string half way up a tree after you plug them in. While they’re lit, you can see how evenly spaced the lights are as you work. More importantly you are making sure the strings are still lit because when unplugged, even after testing them beforehand, sometimes they will stop working when you are attaching them to the tree. When you reach the top, any excess can be tucked into the middle of the tree and allowed to drop down from the top. This will create light from within giving your tree luminous depth! Once the tree is lit, you then unplug the lights to continue with the decorations unfettered by glare.