How to Light a White Christmas Tree


At the end of last season, I bought a cute pre-lit, 4′ white tinsel Christmas tree – for $12! It has 110 tips, but only 70 lights. I knew it needed more lights. A LOT more. But how do I get the lights and wires to match the white tree?

Lights to tree height ratio

When I was a florist, companies would hire me to do their holiday decorating, so I have a little bit of experience in turning a skimpy tree into a knock out. The first rule is to have 100 lights per foot of tree. So this little 4′ tree needed another 400+ lights.

I ended up taking the existing 70 lights off first, because they weren’t put on the way I like, then off to the store to get more lights!

When I got to the store, I could only find the lights with green wires that are normally used for trees. But after poking around, I found icicle lights with white lights and white wires. I’ve never used these before to light a tree, but they actually worked out great!

How to light a white Christmas tree

1.  Cut a big pile of white twist-ties into 2″ lengths. These will hold the wires in place, and the good thing about this method of adding lights is that they can be left on the tree year after year! At the end of the season, I put a large, plastic trash bag over the tree and store it in the attic until next year.

2.  Plug in the first strand of lights and make sure they all work. Leave them plugged in while you work, since that will help you see how they look on the tree.

3.  I bent the very top of the tree over in half, since it was a little too long. If you will be using a tree topper, put that on first to determine how much space it takes up on the top. Now start at the top with the lights, and secure with a twist-tie.

4.  Wind the strand of lights around the “trunk” of the tree. You want the tree to be lit from the center outward. This gives the tree depth and fullness.

5.  When you get to an “icicle” on the strand, wind it from the trunk outward on a branch, and secure the end with a twist-tie. Click here for a quick video to show the wrapping.

6.  Keep going until you get to the plug of the first strand of lights. Plug in the next set of lights, and keep the plugs close to the center of the tree so they are hidden. Try to keep all the plugs on the same side of the tree if you can.

White lights unlit

 White icicle lights on a white tree
White lights – unlit

lights all lit up

White lights – lit

Using the icicle lights took a few more strands than I originally thought, due to the way the icicle strands were spaced on the main wire. I ended up using 5 boxes of 100 lights AND still had to add the original strand of 70 lights to finish the bottom!  So this little 4′ tree now has 570 lights.

Before (with 70 lights) and After (with 570 lights)

The tree is decorated to coordinate with the colours of the room, which is brown, white and chartreuse. I also used the white twist-ties instead of hooks to attach the ornaments, so the whole thing will be stored as-is at the end of the season. I found little white birds to put on the tree, but there was no place on them for a hook or tie – so I got out the Krazy-Glue and glued them to the tips of the branches!

How the white Christmas tree came out:

White Christmas Tree – Decorated and Lit

Doesn’t that look pretty?

Decorated and lit closeup

To make a similar tree, I’ve linked to products below:


4 thoughts on “How to Light a White Christmas Tree

Comments are closed.