Whether you’re on your own or with family – the hanging and arrangement of the Christmas tree lights are one of the real highlights of the year. The arrangement, preparation and the grand reveal are all heart-warming moments to share with your nearest and dearest.

But the exercise is also fraught with irritation. And at this time of year, there is no bigger irritant than untangling Christmas lights.

So now all of the Bailey’s has been glugged and your once glorious tree is starting to shed its needles, make sure you pack your decorations away neatly to avoid unnecessary fuss when it is time to do it all again next year.

At Hilltop we have come up with five ingenious ways of keeping those lights untangled, so that next year there will be none of the pain and just all of the pleasure…

1: Use cable ties

A really simple and yet perfect idea.  We all know how to loop things like string, rope and indeed Christmas lights… wrap one end around your elbow and loop the other in the V between your thumb and first finger.  Once you have looped the whole length of Christmas lights, use three cable ties, in three places along with the lights, to fix the cord firmly in place, so there are no tangles possible.  And there you go – perfectly secure lights! 

You can buy cable ties from just 99p from Hilltop, and they come in a variety of colours, so you can even be colour coordinated.  We also have printed cable ties so you can be strategic in terms of labelling which lights are which!  Check the Hilltop website for our wide range of cable ties.

2: Reuse a Pringles tube

Of course, the festive period is a time of celebration.  Of coming together.  Of excessive snacking.  And you will probably find that amongst your seasonal snacks, accumulated like a squirrel before the snows set in, is a tube of Pringles.  No doubt the Pringles will go soon enough (as the ad goes, “once you pop you just can’t stop”) but try to keep the can… you will now find its cylindrical shape comes in very useful.  Cut a hole in the bottom of the tube and feed the top of the Christmas lights through that hole.  Then carefully wrap the lights around the outside of the tube, possibly going up to the top, and back down again, if needed.  Try to keep the lines of lights close together, but make sure you are following that trail, up and down the tube.  Then secure the end under the lid of the tube, pushing it gently back on, to secure the lights.  Perfect!  You can even store them vertically in a cupboard so that you also avoid damage to the bulbs themselves.

3: Use heat shrink tubing

This is a little like the Pringles idea but is even more secure.  This might work two ways.  Firstly, in a very similar way to the above, use thick heat tubing, with a wide diameter, to wrap the lights around the outside of the tubing, further securing them with cable ties.   Again, these come in a variety of colours so you can be both organised and festive at the same time.  Alternatively, look to one of our commercial heat shrink tubing solutions, and thread the lights through the tube itself, which can then be looped up as you would a garden hose, and fixed with cable ties and then stored somewhere securely.  And this means that next year when you reach for the lights you can feel assured they have been stored safely and securely and will work again, rather than shoved in a box, where they are liable to be both tangled and damaged. Ho ho Heat Shrink Tubing! 

4: Use cardboard

There will also be a lot of this stuff going spare, once all the gifts are opened, especially from that online retailer somewhat ironically named after a South American rainforest.  However, be both environmental and practical by cutting waste cardboard into magazine-sized pieces.  Cut a divot into the side to secure the end of the lights, then carefully wrap the lights around the cardboard, creating another divot for the end of the lights.  Use a different piece of card for each set of lights that you have.

5: Hire a professional

Yes, we are serious.  A couple of years back a certain retail grocer – whose name rhymes with Fresco – offered that as a service.  Bring in your tangled lights and let their professional untangler untangle them for you (at a price, of course).  It might help de-stress the family after a couple of weeks in unusually close proximity, but let’s face it, is rather an indulgent expense.  What might be easier is to ask one of your child-sized Christmas elves to help you instead! 

So, some ideas to consider when the decorations are coming down and the mood has turned somewhat dour.  Believe us … you will thank yourself next Christmas when you open up the lights and remember what a good job you did of putting them away.  Think of it as our present to you….  Merry Xmas!