Christmas Lights Not Working? Here's Why!

Don't be a Grinch at Christmas, keep your Christmas lights shining!

Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree. Brooke Slezak - Getty Images

Christmas is a time of presents, snowy yards and roofs, Christmas trees, and of course, Christmas lights. Now you don't have to decorate like the Grizwalds, but let's face it, it is really nice to look at Christmas decorations as they sparkle in the darkness of the night.

This time of year is definitely the time to decorate the tree with garland and Christmas lights. The glow of colored lights glistening throughout the house while waiting on old St.

Nick. But what happens when the lights suddenly go out? Is Rudolf stealing the power to light his nose? Is there a power outage? Well don't get too excited yet. Let's examine what some of the probable causes are and how to remedy the problems.

Checking the Christmas light strands can be tedious and time consuming, but when the lights are shining brightly at night around your home, you'll have that warm satisfaction that you fixed the lights instead of spending your hard earned money on new ones. 

Be sure to have an ample supply of new bulbs and a few fuses around to install in the light strand. Some light strands are for indoor/outdoor use, while others are specifically designed for outdoors. The difference being, the outdoor light strands have been designed for all types of weather and sunlight.  They can take the elements that Mother nature dishes out. The cord connections are weatherproof as well, making them safe to use outdoors.

When installing these freshly repaired Christmas lights, try and keep cord connections up off of the ground and away from flammable materials. Outdoor connections should be elevated so as to keep them out of puddles of water and snow. 

When the Christmas lighting season is over, hang the lights up to dry in your garage or shed before putting them away.

 This will let them dry out and make for a less messy winding of the lights. I like to store mine in large plastic tubs with lids.  It keeps them safe from damage and are easily stackable in my basement until next year.

I hope this helps you light up your Christmas lights this year and have a Merry Christmas!

  1. Check the Circuit Breaker or Fuse Feeding the Circuit

    Go to the electrical panel and check to see if any circuit breakers are tripped or fuses blown. Use a circuit tester to see if the outlet that the lights are plugged into is hot. If not and the circuit is on, turn the circuit off, remove the outlet, and check the connections to the outlet.


  2. Check the Fuses in the Christmas Lights

    If the Christmas lights go out, it may be as simple as a fuse blowing within the light set itself. Located within the plug-in plug is a couple of fuse. They are hidden behind a sliding door that is clearly marked. Simply unplug the lights and slide the cover to expose the fuses. Remove the fuses and check them with an ohm meter. If there is no resistance, they are good, but if there is infinite resistance, they are bad and should be replaced.


  3. Check the Individual Light Bulbs

    Sometimes the Christmas light bulbs themselves are the troublemakers. They could be loose in the sockets and that can cause them not to light. A bulb could have fallen completely out of a socket or have a bulb wire bent to the side that isn't making contact with the socket contacts. Usually you'll have some replacement bulbs that come with the lights for just such an emergency. Replace the bulbs if needed.