Decorating your home with Christmas lights is one of the most important parts of the holiday season. Think about this year as your chance to one-up your neighbor who always brags about the stellar light show they put up every December.

Sure, not everybody is so eager to make their house look like it belongs on the Las Vegas strip, but if you’re going to be doing it, you may as well put the strings of light up right. Here are some tips and a guide to help you along the way.

First Thing’s First: Measure

One of the worst home improvement experiences is when you estimate a length you need and end up being totally wrong. You have to take a trip back to the store to get more materials, or you’ve just wasted some cash on some lights you’re going to forget about because you don’t go to Home Depot too often.

So, to avoid that, grab a tape measure and trace along the eaves of your roof that you want to line with lights. If you want to cover other things, measure that as well. For added clarity, make a map on a piece of paper to make sure you get it right.

 Buy Lights

You’re going to want the right kind of lights, right? You definitely have some options. There are clear lights, colored lights, big and small bulbs and flickering options. You also have the option between incandescent and LED lighting. You generally have the option between strings that hold 50 to 200 lights per string, according to the DIY Network.

You may want to consider any number of factors: longevity, energy efficiency or brightness. LEDs use 10 percent as much electricity as regular incandescent lights, but is initially more expensive. LEDs last two to three times longer than their incandescent counterparts and aren’t as likely to break.  Still, if one goes out the whole string goes out, so you may want to get shorter lengths if you go this route.

There are, of course, style considerations as well. You have icicle lights, regular roof lights, options for color and various bulb styles to choose from.  So many choices.

Get Your Tools, Supplies And Find An Outlet

For safety, you’ll want a strong ladder and light clips. You can avoid nails and staples that damage your house’s shingles if you just buy all-purpose clips. They clip to most surfaces, including roof shingles and rain gutters.  If you want to get super fancy, you can put your lights on a timer to come on at a certain time and turn off at a certain time. If you want to put lights in trees, you may want to invest in a light-hanging pole, according to Christmas Lights Etc. Next, find the outlet where you’re going to start the string of lights.

Get Hanging

Be careful and begin attacking your bulbs. Some say that you should space out your lights 12-18 inches on big homes and 6 to 12 inches for smaller homes.  Do the same for walkways.