Saturday, November 27, 2010

The trouble with pre-lit Christmas trees...

Three years ago I replaced all three of my Christmas trees with pre-lit ones.  I was tired of spending hours sorting the branches by color, inserting them into the corresponding colored holes on the tree and then stringing the whole thing with lights.  I figured there was a better use for my time...like drinking rum spiked egg-nog and hard cider as I bask in the glow of an easily assembled tree, for instance, so I set about finding just the right trees.

I needed to find a 7 or 8 foot one for my living room; a six footer for my office/den; a small 4 foot tree for my dining room.  I cruised the Internet, looked at every store in town and finally found the ones I wanted and brought them home.  The only hitch we had that year was the traumatization of my then 11 year old son who looked at the pre-lit trees with distaste and disgust.  Turns out his favorite part of Christmas decorating was putting the trees together.  Who knew?  Certainly not me, but now I am sort of wishing I would have listened to him and forgone the whole thing.

Last year we hauled out the trees the day after Thanksgiving, which is our tradition, and I was unhappily surprised to find that the top third of the big living room tree would not light up.  I tried in vain to find the reason, rearranged the plugs, made sure all the bulbs were tightly screwed in; nothing worked.  No big deal, I just grabbed an extra strand of lights and wove them on the tree.  The other two trees were all aglow, so Christmas decorating went on without too much cussing and fussing, and I still had quite a bit of basking-in-the-glow time with the tree.  We even had a white Christmas for the first time in my 45 year memory.

This year the trees were pulled out of the attic and my (now 14) year old son went to work setting them up.
We wrestled the beast into position, got it all set up.  The moment of truth was upon us.  We plugged that puppy in and crossed our fingers.  I guess we should have crossed a few more body parts because it was a no-go.  Not only were there more lights out than there were last year, but the 'found' lights I had strung on the top were out as well.
*sigh*  I traipsed to the store, on Black Friday, mind you, the day I was most adamantly NOT going to step foot in a store on.  It couldn't be helped though, I was determined not to let the tree's bad mojo get the best of me (maybe my son, who never wanted the trees in the first place, cursed them...hmm...).  I found what I needed rather quickly in Big Lots, multi-colored LED lights, so as to last longer and save energy, don't you know.  They were more expensive than the regular ones, but I figured they would be worth it.  I even got a frequent shopper's discount and ::only:: paid $50 for the new lights.  I came home and went right to work.  My 14 year old had lost interest by that time, but I still had my youngest (11) there to help.  We decided to go for a really vintage look for the tree, whose ornaments are a hodgepodge of collectible, vintage glass and hand-made ornaments.
I am posting this next picture just for my friend, Jeanmarie, to let her see what I really look like when I decorate my Christmas tree.  Are you completely disillusioned now, Jeanmarie?
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the dining room tree was all systems go, as all the lights lit up beautifully.  My son worked his magic in that room.
I still haven't even started on the office/den tree yet.  It is sadly light-less on over half of its branches.  I need to go and buy more bulbs, white stranded ones this time, and then string them on before I can decorate it.  Yes, I have figured out the trouble with pre-lit trees - they don't save any time at all in my experience.  I have now lost my momentum, as I write this, it just sits there, 5 feet away from me looking really sad;  taunting me.
I think I will leave it be for now.  It is time to pop open a bottle of hard cider and go bask in the glow of the finished tree in the living room.  There's always tomorrow.