Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Beware pre-lit trees.

The warning to Caesar was quite clear-
Beware the Ides of March.
I now say to you " beware items of Christmas decorated with strings of pre-lit lights."

It all started a few years back when I bought an outdoor artificial tree in a box from Costco. Pre-lit with 200 lights and stuck in a decorative pot. It was reasonably priced. It would save time so-
I took it home.
I removed the tree from the box. Plugged it in on the front verandah- and voila...instant light.

That lasted for a few weeks and then one evening 100 lights went dark. I tried everything.
I replaced a bulb or two. I jiggled strings- and I swore.
Nothing worked.
Finally, in desperation, I removed all the lights. A mighty big job. The strings must have been wound on the branches by a machine somewhere in mainland China where the tree was made.
They were tightly wrapped and took longer to unwind and remove than the entire process of buying the tree, removing it from its cardboard container and plugging it in- combined!

Now, this year I am cursed with the same problem.

A week ago, I plugged in a wire reindeer lit with LED lights and half of the bulbs didn't work. I jiggled a cord and replaced a bulb and the string finally sparkled to life.
Holiday luck!

Then, another dark, unlit cloud appeared.
Last year I bought two Canada Geese from Wal*Mart. They are constructed of white wire and wrapped in a hundred LED mini-lights. I take them from the garden shed- The Shed Mahall (yes, it's a big garden shed!) and plug them in.
One goose is fine. The other- designed with wings spread wide as if it's about to take flight, not so much. The body of the goose is well-lit but the wings are dark. I haven't tried to fix them yet. Half the Goose is under 20 cms of snow!

Move forward to a few days ago. I decide to set up one of a half dozen artificial spruce trees I have in the garage. This particular tree was bought well after Boxing Day a few years ago. I bought it for 10 bucks. It was pre-lit with 400 lights.
I only used it twice in past years.
I go out to the garage and drag it into the house. After taking it from the storage box, I take out the lower level and carefully fold the branches down.
I plug it in.
It works.
Next, I take the middle section.
Repeat the process and there's light!
Finally the top of the tree.
I fold down the branches and fluff them. That's the term one uses when setting up a fake tree. Fluff the branches so the tree looks life-like.
Fluffing completed, I plug it in.
I jiggle some lights.
Dark, yet the bottom two thirds of the tree sparkle away.
I could just spit!

With a minimum of swearing and a maximum of deep breaths, I take the tree apart. Place it in it's box. Tape it closed and take it back to the garage. It'll be going to Goodwill.

Now, one would think all my bad light-luck is behind me.
Well, one would be wrong.
I bring in a slender slim-line tree next. 200 lights. I plug it in.
One set is dark.
I can't &%$$%# believe it!

Calmly, I walk to the kitchen.
I open the junk drawer and take out a pair of needle-nosed pliers.
I go back to the tree and cut the string of offending lights in 3 or 4 places and RIP them from the tree and throw them in the garbage.
Now that felt good!
I smiled a sneer-like smile- like the Grinch who Stole Christmas.
Jim Carry would be proud.

Off I trot to my Christmas cupboard. I take out a new box of 100 mini lights and return to wrap the tree. Easy as mincemeat pie!
I plug them in and there was and still is- light!

Dear Readers, there is indeed a morale to this story.
Oh, nothing poetic just a caution when one purchases a pre-lit anything.

Remember darkness lurks amid the presence of light.