Hanging Christmas Lights

I admit it, I cannot stand it when Christmas lights are crooked and they need to be re-done. I live south of the Windy City, so anything outside? Has to stand up to sever windy conditions. Especially in the winter. The leaves have long since disappeared and the wind howls on a bad day!

Plus, asking my husband to get on a ladder for hours just to hang icicle lights under the roof? We haven't even gotten to the porch, fence or garage yet. 

He'd rather hit his thumb with a hammer, so I had to get smart and get creative.
This was our first attempt back in 2008 to hang lights outside. Epic fail. I didn't exactly inspire my neighborhood to sing Christmas carols.  I didn't even want to look at my house!

Yeah, the clip method....totally sucks. They lied. Unless you want to put hangers every 4 inches. 

So I spent hours researching ways to hang Christmas lights. I searched websites and called Light Companies, I checked everywhere....to no avail.

Well, instead of boring you with all the LONG discussions I had with Hubby (my official Christmas Elf and Ultimate Light Hanger) here is what I finally came up and it works beautifully.
And you will NOT believe how fast we get them up and back inside on a chilly day!

Below is my inspiration I found...

We use "J Channel".....with lights inside. 


We purchased enough "J Channel" to fit the length of our ranch house and drilled holes in the bottom of  it and pushed each icicle into the holes so they hung downward. The longest part of this project was pushing each icicle strand through the holes that are 2" apart in the bottom of the channel.

 To cut and insert the lights inside the channel took 2 hours and you only have to do this part once!

To hang the channel (with the lights already strung in it) outside......took less then 30 minutes. All you have to do next year is grab your lights still inside the channel, ladder and screws and drill and go. If you do not have a garage or basement where you can store/hang a 10 foot long piece of plastic that houses icicle lights, you can always cut the J Channel in smaller more manageable lengths. We stuck with the 10 footers because it is only 5 or 6 pieces total and we use 3 bicycle hooks mounted to the underside of our joists in the basement to hold these lights year round.

2009 Christmas 

2012 Christmas ok see....we are improving!

The "J" channel we found at Home Depot in the Aluminum siding aisle. This is the channel that goes around windows when you have aluminum siding. It's cheap!!! For a 10' or 12 foot piece it was only like $6.00 each and we only needed a few pieces to do the front of the house.

Use the slotted holes (already provided by the manufacturer) to mount to your eaves (We used rust proof screws). Inside that channel we drilled holes JUST BIG ENOUGH to push the icicle lights through. 

Below are some pics of the lights being stored in our basement hanging from some large J hooks.

and let me leave you with the latest pictures of last Christmas...

Hanging Christmas Lights Easily and Quickly; better then a professional

Hanging Christmas Lights Easily and Quickly; better then a professional

Hanging Christmas Lights Easily and Quickly; better then a professional

Hanging Christmas Lights Easily and Quickly; better then a professional

I hope you find this helpful, think of me when you're done in less then an hour and back inside sipping Hot Cocoa :-)