Putting Christmas lights and tree stands to the test

(NEW YORK) — The holidays are a time for decorating and feeling festive. To help you avoid a decorating disaster, editors from the website The Sweethome went to work, spending more than 100 hours testing tree stands and holiday lights.

Ganda Suthivarakom, editor of The Sweethome, challenged ABC News’ Paula Faris to set up their top-rated tree stand, the Krinner Christmas Tree Genie XXL, all by herself. The Krinner comes with a ratcheting pedal that pumps so wires and claws enclose around the tree trunk. Pressing a button locks it in place.

“It’s very easy to set up,” said Suthivarakom.

Faris put the tree up with the Krinner in just 25 seconds.

The Sweethome also tests the tree stands for stability, using a force gauge to apply 10 pounds of pressure. The Krinner couldn’t be knocked over. Nor could The Sweethome’s runner-up choice, the Cinco C-144E Express, a more traditional bolt-style stand that costs $35.

The Sweethome also put holiday lights to the test, evaluating them for light quality and ease of unpacking and packing up.

“Sometimes you get loose wires and they’re really hard to string on trees,” said Suthivarakom. “You want wires that are nice and tightly twisted and that they stay in place when you pull them out.”

The site’s top pick for indoor lights are the GE Energy Smart Colorite Miniature Lights. Its favorite outdoor lights are the Christmas Designers 5 Millimeter Wide Angle Conical LED.

To test whether the lights are waterproof, editors submerged the Christmas Designers lights in water for six hours.

“They’re still working,” said Suthivarakom.

For more of The Sweethome’s top picks for holiday decorations, click here for Christmas lights and click here for tree stands. The Sweethome does get a percentage of money from retailers for products sold through the links in its articles.

Here a few tips for stress-free holiday decorating:

The Sweethome advises buying holiday lights early, since many brands are sold out by mid-December.

At the end of the holidays, wrap your light strands around a panel of cardboard about the size of a legal pad. This will keep the lights from tangling up like they would when shoved in a box.

When buying a tree, have the flat edge cut off the tree trunk before you place it in the stand. The fresh edge will absorb water better. And if you purchase the Krinner tree stand, The Sweethome’s top pick, lock it with a padlock so small children can’t open it.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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