How to fix Christmas lights: What to do when you’re met with that inevitable unlit section this week

Unpacked your Christmas tree to find that all your lights have gone? Find out how to fix Christmas lights without too much hassle

christmas lights
(Image credit: Getty)

We’re going into December this week, which means one thing - it’s time to put the Christmas tree up.

And with this being the last weekend before December kicks off, most of us can probably admit that we’ve taken advantage of the extra time to put the Christmas decorations in our houses up a couple of days early - even if we've had to buy a Christmas tree online.

But when unpacking our festive decorations and getting them all up around the house, it is done while holding our breath over one issue in particular - our Christmas lights.

Hardly a December can go by without many of us being met with at least one section of dud lights in our Christmas set - meaning we’re left having to splurge out on new ones or go through the hassle of getting them fixed lest we leave a section of our perfectly-curated tree unlit.

So learn here how to fix Christmas lights so that you can try and do it yourself for a cheaper and smoother first week of December.

How to fix Christmas lights: Four causes to look out for and how to solve them

Disconnected light bulbs

The first thing to look out for is any loose light bulbs on your string of Christmas lights. The problem with any lights that aren’t could be as simple as the light not being pushed into the power source properly.

Check for loose connections and if you can see any, try and push them down onto the power connection properly to see if that fixes the problem. No need for anymore hassle!

Blown and tired Fuses

Next check your fuse. In the plug of your lights there will live one or multiple small fuses and if one overheats and blows, it can cause one section or even the while string of lights to stop working.

You may have been provided with an extra fuse on buying your lights, but if you weren’t (or they’ve ended up rolling around somewhere in the random stuff drawer in the kitchen) you should be able to get one from a hardware store. You can even purchase them online if you know which type you’re looking for.

How to replace the fuse:

  • Open the plug’s latch with a small screwdriver (any that you’ve collected from last year’s Christmas crackers would work perfectly!)
  • Use a fuse tester to figure out which is the one causing the problem
  • Carefully take out the faulty fuse and replace it with the new one
  • Screw the latch back onto the plug and you should be good to go!

Shop Amazon fuses here

Broken lightbulbs

If all of your lightbulbs are connected properly and the fuses are all working/have been replaced for new ones, then chances are the issue could be that your lightbulbs themselves are broken.

And while you may have thought that this means you need to splash out on a whole new set of lights, replacement bulbs are actually super easy to get hold of - again either from your local hardware store or online.

The best way to go around this fix is to first check with bulb it is that’s causing the problem, as just one can cause a large section to go dark, or even affect the whole string of lights.

Use an electrical tester to identify which bulb is the broken one. Then simply pick out your broken bulb and clip in one of the new one. We’d recommend grabbing a bag each year in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales so that you’re well prepared for any issues that crop up on December 1st!

Shop Amazon bulb replacements here

Chewed and mangled wires

Most of us can probably admit to storing our Christmas decorations in tattered old boxes that we keep in our cold attics or garages or outdoor sheds. So chances are that are precious Christmas lights are actually left subject to whichever animals want to get them - namely rats.

This can lead to finding chewed wires when you open up your Christmas decor box, which, in all honesty, can be quite dangerous. In this case, it’s probably better to abandon ship and invest in some new lights - save any Home Alone-style electric situations!

Black Friday Christmas light deals

Best Black Friday Christmas light deals

If you've done everything you can buy your lights are truly beyond repair (or if, admittedly like us, you'd just rather avoid all the hassle) use the Black Friday weekend offers to bag yourself a deal on a new set of lights.

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.


Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

Follow her latest shopping & lifestyle advice, beauty insights and social antics on Instagram at @aleeshabadkar.


Twitter: @aleeshabadkar

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Email: aleesha.badkar@futurenet.com