There was a time when outdoors Christmas lights only appeared on high streets and town squares – but now, more and more of us are jazzing up our homes with strings of dazzling lights (plus illuminated Santas, fake reindeer and a sleigh on the roof, in some cases).

[Read more: 5 easy festive craft ideas to decorate your home with this Christmas]

Whether you think the trend is more garish than great is a matter of opinion - we’re big fans of some festive flash! – but if you are going to bling-up your house with outdoor Christmas lights, you might want to follow some basic ‘rules’.

Here are our dos and don’ts for putting Christmas lights on the outside of your home:

1. Don’t leave your lights on the fast setting overnight. Yes, the rave setting might be fun for five minutes, but no one wants to be kept awake at night because a neighbour’s roof won’t stop flashing.

2. On a similar note, don’t blind your neighbours either. While bright lights might fit in nicely with the theme, too much dazzle might be a recipe for disaster (ie. unimpressed neighbours!).

3. Don’t go too over the top. OK, so it might seem like a competition to see who can create the biggest and brightest Christmas showstopper on your street, but sometimes less is more.

4. Do match the extension cords to the environment. These small details can make a massive difference in how the decorations will look. Using a white extension cable on a tree will draw attention to the cable, not the main event.

5. Do get creative with some DIY. Most people have lights which they have used every year. This can get boring, but don’t go a spend loads on brand new lights. Jazz up the ones you have. Use a table tennis balls to get a globular glow or cupcake liners to turn your light into a flower vine.

6. Do use energy-efficient bulbs. LED lights last longer and are more eco-friendly.

[Read more: Kew Gardens reveals winter light show]

7. Don’t leave your lights on all day. Not only will it drain energy and possibly result in a whopping electricity bill, what’s the point having them on when there aren’t many people around to see them, or it’s daylight, or the middle of the night?

8. Do get some inspiration. Unsure how to outdo Number 27 down the road this year? Go online and see what others have done to gather up some new ideas.

9. Do think about adding music. OK, so we told you not to go too overboard, but it is Christmas after all -  why not sync your lights to music?

10. Do use other decorations too. The lights might be the main attraction, but a few frolicking reindeer on the lawn, maybe a Santa climbing up the drainpipe… now you’re talking!

11. Do take your lights down once Christmas is over. Seriously, leaving your lights out until February (or all year round) is not a good look.