Christmas light tips from the pros

CLEVELAND - Clark Griswald, in "National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation," is the poster child for what not to do while hanging Christmas lights. So, for the best looking house on the block, The List turned to the crew that decorates Crocker Park.

They may make it look easy, but workers there say, “You got to have a lot of patience, a lot of patience.”  

Transforming the Westlake shopping center into a winter wonderland takes about a month.

Krista Hermes, Assistant Operations Manager at Crocker Park, agrees that patience is key. 

“When I first started here I wrapped tree lights and the job is not fun what-so-ever,” Hermes said.  

But Hermes now supervises the effort, and she shared some of their tree lighting secrets.

“It’s always best to run the extension chord to the highest point of the tree and then start wrapping at the top and work down,” Hermes said. 

For every 1-and-a-half feet of tree, Hermes says you need 100 lights. Each of the 140 trees at Crocker Park takes 12-15 strands.

 “It’s always best to do three strands and then start back at the original power source,” Hermes said.

That way you don’t blow fuses, which can also happen when plugs are left exposed to the elements. And another tip to keep your plugs from being exposed.

“When we finish each chord we use silicon and silicon the end of the chord so that keeps water from getting in the chord,” Hermes said. 

The street-side trees get a lot of attention, but not as much the one sitting in the center of Crocker Park. Crocker Park’s 50-foot Christmas tree has more than 1,400 branches that have to be hooked on and plugged in. It has about 500 ornaments, and it takes 3-days to put up.

The tree will be lit during the annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony Saturday, November 17. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., with Santa lighting the tree at 8 p.m.

And here's our list of best places to check out the holidays lights.

  • Let’s start downtown at Public Square, which will be illuminated with thousands of lights beginning November 24th.
  • Ashtabula’s Lights on the Lake at Lake Shore Park kicks off November 22nd.
  • And rounding out our top three is a Cleveland holiday tradition since 1925. Nela Park which lights up in early December.


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