I tried the genius Christmas light hack that's gone viral – it's super easy, and my tree feels so much more magical

If you want a brighter Christmas tree with added depth and dimension, this TikToker's simple lighting hack is the answer

Close up of Christmas tree branches decorated with string lights
(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

How can you make your Christmas tree look extra special? We often focus on the tree itself or the decorations we adorn it with, but a component we commonly overlook - despite possibly having the biggest contribution of all - is the lights. 

Truthfully, they're the most fiddly and time-consuming part of your Christmas decorating ritual. That's why I'm guilty of throwing them on haphazardly, even if they're tangled, and just hoping for the best. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't produce the best results...

As frustrating as decorating with string lights can be, without them your tree would look flat and lacklustre - after all, they're the main decoration for bringing the warm festive glow that's so synonymous with this time of year. That's where this new lighting hack comes in. 

The simple lighting technique has taken TikTok by storm. Impressed with dazzling tree I saw on my feed, I decided to give it a try myself. The alternative method of decorating your Christmas tree focuses on the trunk instead of the branches, resulting in an extra bright tree with added depth and dimension. Admittedly, it did test my patience, but the idea is really simple and the results are so astounding, I haven't even added any other decorations yet! Read on to hear how it's done. 

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She's committed to sharing articles that help readers embrace emerging trends and keep up-to-date with changing styles to keep in tune with the seasons. With the festive season nearly upon us, here she details a clever TikTok lighting hack that promises an extra bright Christmas tree

How to get extra bright Christmas tree lights


♬ original sound - Kelly Fitzsimons

Home blogger kellyfitzsimmons__ shows how she adds lights to her artificial tree focusing on the trunk first over the branches for an extra bright Christmas tree.

To achieve the look, Kelly used three sets of 2000 cluster lights. She uses three sets of the warm white cluster lights from Woodies, each of which has 2,000 individual LEDs. You can find similar cluster lights on Amazon

Once you've untangled the lights, Kelly instructs us to start at the base of our tree, pushing the lights right back to the trunk, rather than resting them on the tips of the branches. This helps the lights to shine outwards, giving the tree the magical appearance of glowing. 

'This method is used by florists to create Christmas installations,' explains Mary-Anne Da'marzo founder and head florist at The Last Bunch. 'Doubling up on lights is what makes the tree look so premium. You can create that professional look at home by following this method and opting for warm white lights to channel a classic Christmas look.'

Mary-Anne adds: 'If you examine any decoration closely you will notice a similar setup. Quite often the decor will only be covered on the front - so the back doesn't touch at all.'

There's another catch, though. Rather than wrapping her lights around the tree as we usually would, Kelly uses the zig-zag method. Instead of walking around the tree, she moves left to right, concentrating only on the front of the tree that's on display. She intertwines them around the innermost branches of the tree to help keep them secure. 

Once the entire trunk is covered, you then start moving outwards to the branches using the zig-zagging method again. This means no light is lost underneath the branches where it won't be seen. 

Warm Cluster String Lights, Amazon 
Shine bright

Warm Cluster String Lights, Amazon 

Elevate your Christmas tree with these warm cluster lights from Amazon. Each string of lights has 2,000 individual LEDs to help illuminate your tree and add some festive sparkle to your living room. This set also comes with 8 different light patterns to shake up your space

Commenting on the technique, Paula Boston at Festive Lights said: 'Receiving over 4.3 million views on TikTok, it comes as no surprise that this decoration hack is taking off. This technique of adding extra lights against the trunk can really elevate the look of your Christmas Tree; creating depth and extra warmth to your home by emitting a prominent glow.'

Although the extra lights may come as an expense, Paula is quick to note that the end result will be worth it, making your tree the focal point of the room, and a real talking point if you're hosting guests this festive season. 'In order to achieve the look we recommend simply pushing the lights into the base of your tree against the trunk - working your way up, moving from left to right,' she says. 'However, remember to not wrap around it and place the lights on top of the branches - as this can cause your lights to look cluttered.'

As well as the aesthetic benefits, there are some practical ones, too. 'The zig zag effect makes for a much easier take down,' notes Mary-Anne. 'Quite often with real trees, they will get replanted after the festive season so this helps to keep the branches intact without having to pull off the lights which will then pull off the branches.'

She continues: 'When deciding on the variety of real Christmas tree to best suit this method - Norway spruce are one of the most classic Christmas trees, but Nordmann firs are well-known to retain their needles - making them for a far better option if you plan on doubling up your Christmas tree lights.'

Classic Blue Spruce Artificial Christmas Tree, Balsam Hill 
Bushy blue spruce

Classic Blue Spruce Artificial Christmas Tree, Balsam Hill 

Add timeless charm to your Christmas celebration with this artificial Christmas tree from Balsam Hill. Made with 100% Classic Needle foliage, the faux branches have natural characteristics for a full, abundant look. 

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.