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A well-lit tree is a necessity during the holidays, but the actual execution is easier said than done. Especially if you feel like getting fancy with it. Which we do.

While you always have the option to take the standard route by going around the tree with a single string of lights, there’s an alternative approach that’s guaranteed to make yours stand out.

Luckily, we’re here to help with a lighting hack that’s guaranteed to make your tree stand out. Full disclosure: It can be a bit of a challenging one, time-wise, but the jaw-dropping result will make every minute worth it. Trust us.

Take Inventory

There’s nothing worse than winding your way up a tree only to find that your bright lights are dull bulbs or worse—broken—so double check to make sure that each string works.

For a six-foot tree, we used 1,400 lights, however, this will vary depending on the width of your tree.

Start From the Top

Whether you begin lighting the tree from the top or the bottom is apparently up for debate, but let the record show that we believe the former of the two is the way to go. When starting from the top, you eliminate the instance of ending up with a surplus of lights at the top—in lieu of the base, where it’s easier to conceal.

Since the top of the tree is significantly less full than the base, be reserved with the number of lights used there, saving the majority of them for the bulkier section of the tree.

Photography by Aaron Bengochea

Light the Trunk

Before you take to the branches, light the core of the tree—beginning at the top and working your way down the trunk. This will establish an added layer of luster to the tree.

Photography by Aaron Bengochea

Wrap Each Branch

Once the trunk is lit, make your way back to the top and loop a string of lights around the very tip of the tree. From here, string the lights around each of the individual branches, working from the base of the stem outwards. Repeat this all the way around the tree, in a spiralized motion, until you reach the end.

While this is undoubtedly a more time-consuming way to light your tree, the high-impact finish is definitely worth the time and effort. On top of that, you can take the minimalist route and leave the lit tree as is, sans ornaments.