This is the year when the lights went out. Literally! Once plugged in, our pre-lit tree had a whole band of lights in the middle that were deader than doornails. We tried to find the offending bulbs and replace them, but none of our spares worked. (Do ya think that was a marketing decision by the tree manufacturer? I think the term is “planned obsolescence”.) Anyway, a new artificial tree was definitely not in the budget this year, so Dad volunteered to cut off all of the original lights. Within ten minutes of clipping wires, he knew he should not have offered to lend a hand. (And oh, the language that he used! The bad words could be heard from the garage, where he was working, into the kitchen, where I was working.) Two days later, the tree was ready to be decorated.
While Dad was yanking wires out of the tree, Greg & I decided that we should invest in LED lights this year. We had used them in 2002 when we lived in Charlotte, and back then, the only clear LED lights available gave off a creepy blue-gray glow. We dubbed it the ghost tree, and there was nothing jolly about it! I’m not sure why, but we still have those lights, which should have been thrown away or donated in early 2003! (Why do we pack up and keep stuff we hate, KNOWING FULL WELL we will never use it again???)
At any rate, I went online and checked out Amazon’s LED Christmas light offerings, and found some that were Italian-made. They have teeny-tiny little bulbs, strung on the thinnest copper wire, and the light color description was “warm white”. So I ordered 4 boxes (120 lights x 4 strands = 480 lights), only 2 of which arrived. We hung the lights that we received on the tree, and 240 lights had the same effect as a postage stamp on an elephant. Not sure why, but once Amazon credited me with the lights that never arrived, I re-ordered 2 more boxes of them! In the meantime, we decided that 480 of those tiny lights might need the companionship of some larger bulbs, so Greg went to Lowe’s, and bought 400 more LED “warm white” lights. We placed them on the tree, looked at each other, and started laughing. GE’s “warm white” looks more like a car’s headlights. There was nothing warm or inviting about the glow that emanated from them, but they were certainly white! Dad was volunteered to pull them off, while Greg made another mad dash to Lowe’s. He came back with traditional lights, but bought the type used by commercial properties. Hopefully, they will be a little more robust than the Merry Bright variety!
In retrospect, after adding up all of the money spent on lights deemed unacceptable, that could not be returned for credit, (I mean, how do you put a string of 150 lights back into the impossibly small box they came in? It’s not going to happen. I suspect that packaging was another shrewd marketing decision on somebody’s part!), we could have probably bought a new tree. But then we wouldn’t have this story to tell at future Christmas gatherings with family and friends. (By the way, I did return the re-ordered 2 boxes of lights from Amazon!)
Above is a view of the finished tree. Unfortunately, the angel at the top looks like she had too many tequilas. Greg promised to straighten her up before our family party on the 21st, but he seems to like her tipsy posture…says it gives the tree character. Men!
Thankfully, the decorating is almost finished. The next post will be a tour of our “Holiday House”. Until then…