The faux reindeer are landing on lawns throughout the city, and that neighbor who leaves her holiday lights up all year has flipped on the...

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The faux reindeer are landing on lawns throughout the city, and that neighbor who leaves her holiday lights up all year has flipped on the electricity to signal the start of a frenzy of outdoor decorating.

To help you turn your yard into a winter wonderland, here are a few tips for safely setting up outdoor holiday lights:

• Clear the gardens of debris and rake the leaves before doing any decorating. What’s the use of stringing twinkling lights if the yard looks unkempt?

• Wash the front, ground-level windows and make certain the front door is crud-free.

Holiday light displays

Will your house be a blazing beacon of holiday magic this December? Tell us about it.

• Make a plan detailing where the lights and other decorations will be placed. When finished, you can run the outdoor extension cords. And if you discover you need an extra outlet or two, call an electrician.

• Make sure all the lights are working before putting them up.

• Get help putting up the clips and lights. Stringing the lights is easier — and safer — with two people.

• String the lights when it’s still fairly warm outside. The wires will be more pliable than on an cold day.

• Use only outdoor lights outside your home.

• Examine light strings every year. Look really closely, and discard the ones that are worn or tattered.

• Fasten each bulb securely and point each socket downward. This will help reduce moisture build-up.

• Never connect more than three strands of lights together.

• Never use indoor extension cords outside.

• Keep outdoor electrical connectors above ground and out of puddles and snow.

• Remember to unplug the light string before replacing a bulb.

• Wrap a plastic bag around each electrical connection and tie the ends with Teflon tape. Really, you can’t be careful enough.