November 30, 2009

The Curse of the Pre-Lit Christmas Tree

It was a dark and stormy night...well, not really, but I always wanted to start a post off with that.  Yesterday was beautiful and sunny - most likely the last day we'll see 60-degree weather for a while, since those that are they are calling whomever they call for cold rain tomorrow, dipping the temperature into the 40's for the rest of the week.

I decided to take advantage of the beautiful warmth and get busy with the Christmas decorating - particularly that of the front porch, since last year Mother Nature thought it was so much fun to have it blustery, cold and snowy on that particular day.  This year she was kind to me.  Though I'm sure I heard her snickering when the wind bellowed at the most inopportune times.

What hasn't been kind is the pre-lit Christmas tree I bought five years ago.  Sure, it was perfect and wonderful the first couple of years, but year-before-last it decided to start a revolt.  Slowly strands of the 600 lights started to burn extra bright, then 50 lights at a time, snuff themselves out.

Unswayed by the obvious lack of Christmas Spirit my tree was presenting, last year I wrestled it into submission, only to have it mock me by rearranging its sections so I ended up with what looked like a pregnant tree:

Of course it wasn't until I had strung extra lights to fill in the dark places and decorated the entire tree that I noticed the faux pas.  Murphy and his Law were laughing hysterically.

The tree wrestling of 2008 commenced, as I un-decorated it, took it apart and put it back together again - then re-added the few hundred lights to even it out where the snuffed out lights were staring blankly amongst the branches.  I thought about just buying a new one, but couldn't bring myself to pay the exorbitant amount it costs to get a 9-foot tree.  Since our ceilings are so high, anything shorter looks more like a toy tree, not a grand Christmas Tree.

Yesterday hubby helped me move the 60+ pound box out of the shed for me to start the tree wrestling event of 2009.  Then he retreated into his man cave with his buddy to record some music - taking the opportunity of my not being in there tapping away at my keyboard causing irregular sound into the recorded tracks, while Princess Nagger hid played in the ginoromous tree box as I wrestled the sections together.

Once all the sections were successfully put into place and the confusion of light chords were tamed into submission, the moment had arrived to flip the switch and see where the pile of light strings would need to be placed to even out the darkened branches.  This year the tree decided it was too tired to perform.  Only about one-quarter of the lights are actually functioning.  Less than half of the lights on the bottom section.  Of four sections.

So much for the "convenience" of a 'pre-lit' tree.

Today I will figure out which box I put the lights in from last year so I can see if I have enough to light up the tree and run out and buy more if necessary.  Then Princess Nagger can help me decorate as she is so anxious to do.  It will be a nice festive thing to do on a dark and stormy night day.

44 Random Sassy Comments:

mellisarock said...

I was thinking of picking up a pre lit tree this year after Christmas when they would be on sale...I am glad to have read your post. I feel so bad...all that investment...and then for only one small section to work...thanks for the warning!!

Margaret said...

I hate fake tree's. I would rather have the smell and mess of a real one.

mo.stoneskin said...

I wonder if your Christmas tree will give birth to some more Christmas trees.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I think that poor tree may be seeing its last Christmas!

Vodka Logic said...

We have a prelit tree and wondered how long the strands would last. Can they be taken off?

I love the pregnant picture. I would have left it.. what a memory.
xx

Sue said...

Hi-I popped over from Tootsie's place-I noticed the title to your post. I'm glad I read it! I was plannning on buying a prelit tree this year because I HATE to mess with lights. Guess I'd still have to. Ugh!

Kovu the Kat said...

Yesterday was a magnificent day, wasn't it!

I always say a prayer when I plug in the first section of the tree that the lights will work. This is only our 2nd year with are 1/2 price tree grabbed at Target 3 years ago, and all is well except for a few random lights that are out. The price was good enough that if we get 4 years out of it I will be happy.

Your tree looks beautiful!

Tara did 75% of our tree, and it looks great, first time in years it was decorated in one day I think!

otin said...

Gee, that sounds fun! LOL! I think that I am going to skip the decorating this year.

Martha in PA said...

That silly cat.. he must have been posting to his blog after I went to bed last night... that comment from Kovu the Kat was really from me! LOL

blueviolet said...

Oh geez! I have a prelit tree. Is this what I have to look forward to???

Mommakin said...

I have been procrastinating. I think you reminded me why.

kyooty said...

ohhhhhhh ahhhhhhhhh still it looks pretty. Here I'm having problems getting my helper dude to move move some furniture.

honeypiehorse said...

That is a strange looking tree. But nice lights.

Raven said...

I think I'll stay away from prelit trees. What a pain! Though, the pregnant tree made me giggle.

I want to decorate so badly but the living room is too much of a mess to put the tree up and the Midgets have been less than cooperative in getting it cleaned up.

Can't wait to see a pic of the finished tree!

Menopausal New Mom said...

Oh so typical. Always a section or two of lights that just won't cooperate! I haven't decorated yet, hubby took my ladder to the cottage and hasn't brought it home! That will be where my money goes this season, a new ladder!

PJ said...

i stopped putting big trees up a few years back. after my kids reached their late teens it just wasn't much fun anymore. i'm not sure what we are going to do this year as now there is a 13 year old in the house. i suppose i will have to find a nice tree somewhere.

have a great day!

shopannies said...

christmas lights used to always be my hubbys job when kids were small but now that they are teens it is my job however this year I do have little feet in the house again so I am wondering if he will once again take the job of lights back again I am crossing my fingers

Rebecca Jo said...

One year, my husband undid EVERY plug on our Pre-lit tree... I thought I was going to knock him in the head!!!!

Jan said...

That is why we haven't gotten a pre-lit tree. Although I have to tell you, that as expensive as they are, those new LED Christmas tree lights are GREAT. This is the third year we've had them on our "formal" tree and they are STILL going strong.

Now, if I could just find a new place for the "family" tree. There's a fish tank and large plant stand in it's place now and space in our family room is at a premium.

Jan said...

OH - I meant to say I LOVE the new design. Is it snowing, though? If so, it's perfect. because it's not distracting at all.

buffalodick said...

We beat tree wrestling this year. We live in a four bedroom home, and there are just two of us living here now... We didn't need the room, so we left the tree, fully decorated, up all year! All we have to do is plug it in...

diane said...

We snipped the cord off of our pre-lit tree two years ago, it felt quite liberating.

Princess Nagger's new photo is adorable. I wish the other one was still up too though.

Brian Miller said...

ok, i am a bad husband...i hid while they were doing the porch trimming...it only makes me mad anyway...i did help with the tree though...

Mammatalk said...

Oh, no. The perils of the pre-lit tree. I never thought of this dilemma!

Kristina P. said...

We have a fake tree, but not prelit. I'm OK with that. I think your tree looks great!

VandyJ said...

We usually do the real tree thing but with a mobile ten month old we are going the pre-lit way. We got it free from my Father-in-law who religously shops the after christmas sales at Kmart and gets these things for like 75% off or more. It saves us this year but we will be watching for the tempamental side of the tree to show itself. Thanks for the warning!

Just Breathe said...

So far all the lights are on this year. They only guarantee them for a few years. My husband can't even get the tree down without the help of the adult boys. It's up and all is well. One thing I learned is never every plug into the lines so all of my moving ornaments are packed away which is sad. Good luck with yours.

Justine said...

OMG, I think I would have taken the tree to the back 40 and put it and yourself out of your misery!

Justine :o )

Firefly@www.firefly-shop.org said...

LOL happens every year :)

Peggy said...

Stacy;

I feel your pain, I'm having similar problems! Good luck to both of us !

Nancy Campbell said...

That picture is hilarious! The lengths we go for holiday cheer!

(And thanks for your kind words the other day.)

XOXO

Jenni said...

We've also found our pre-lit to be more trouble than it's worth. We pick up our real tree on Thursday.

Cascia said...

Good luck with your tree. I bet it will look fine once you have enough lights on it. My husband always puts together our tree and the kids and I decorate it. We managed to get our tree up this weekend.

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

Love the new winter look of the blog!

We just dicussed the 'tree' issue today. We have a fake tree somewhere (and I do stress somewhere, it's a big box but when you have 150 boxes in a basement...I'll be lucky if I find it by Valentines day.) Last year we bought a real one which was ironic considering we lived in the recycling capital of the world - Germany. Apparently fake is very faux pas there though.
We decided the fake one will do just fine this year rather than paying $70 for a tree that will shed for months and die within a week.

Can you just feel the spirit humming off me today or what? ;)

Sprite's Keeper said...

We haven't wrestled our pre-lit out of the garage yet, but I did tap John into doing it on Saturday. If there are any flaming posts next week, you'll know he didn't quite get it done.

Jaime said...

this post makes me so happy i don't deal with trees and twinkle lights and stuff like that.

rxBambi said...

I think 5-7 yrs about the lifespan for the pre-lit trees. You'd think for as much as they cost they'd last forever, but alas that is not the case.
We bought another one last year. So far so good...

Ace said...

We have two trees. One for me and one for the boys!!! Hubby and my two sons share the tree on the balcony. I get the living room tree.

The balcony tree is kinda scary, but it is their tree to do with as they want

LT said...

Oh dear, that is quite a story! I hope you get the darn thing tamed soon! Ours is only missing one small section of lights so far....but it did take me about 15 minutes to figure out how to plug all the sections in right. Sigh...they were supposed to be easier right?!?

Maven said...

Well I just loved this! You remind me of me!!!

Meanwhile, I was admiring your page and then started to think there was something wrong with my eyes - tiny snowflakes!!!!!!!

Uber FABULOUS!

Maggie said...

Awesome!

No tree this year or any year! LOL

My mom is sort of like a little grinch. LOL She likes Christmas but doesn't like decorating our house. I like decorating but then I get sooo lazy putting it all back down!!

Grand Pooba said...

We have a tiny pre-lit tree, I hope it makes it through one more Christmas!

Marla said...

I'm just jealous you have your tree up already, pregnant or not. Go you!

Yaya said...

Lol! I can totally relate!