People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Pre-Lit Christmas Tree can suck it

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Pre-Lit Christmas Tree can suck it

Don't look too close, there are some dead bulb in there.

GUEST POST FROM THE HUBS - I'M NOT THIS CRAZY, JUST HE IS.

Who has a pre-lit Christmas tree?  Who invented this instrument of supposedly cheerful holiday torture?  I know the idea sounds good, but in practice, I am not so sure.  Now, before anyone gets upset, I am not saying that ALL pre-lit trees are bad.  Just the ones that suck monkey balls like the one I happen to have.

We have a 9 ft pre-lit Christmas tree with about 3,000 light bulbs on it.  Ours is huge, massive, and heavy as hell, with more wires and lights than an airport runway in a major city.  It's a nice looking tree.  It was VERY nice to have a huge tree that we didn't have to string lights on.  You plug in all the strands, turn them all on and enjoy your Christmas.  Yeah, that happened only the FIRST year we owned that tree.  Ever since that honeymoon Christmas, it has never been the same around here.  Nope, now it is an annoying, tedious, and mind numbing battle in search of the dreaded dead bulb.  Our tree is seven years old now and once one bulb goes out, the entire strand goes out.  So, you need to find the dead bulb.  With over 3,000 light bulbs on a tree, that is a lot to go through.  

If you love Christmas lights and your sanity, you MUST OWN THIS!!!

Yes, there are tools to help, in fact I have to give a HUGE thumbs up to the makers of LIGHT KEEPER PRO.  Never heard of the magical, super duper, ass kicking, most awesome device ever??  It's a life changer.  Truly.  It was probably invented by Christmas nerds, to save the common man hours of Christmas misery.  What this time saving device does is it basically lights up your strand and shows you where you have a dead bulb.  It really works.  The first time I used it, I thought it was magic.  So simple, so incredible, it was like hitting the lottery.  No more following the string to find the burned out bulb.  The Light Keeper Pro lights up the entire strand showing you where the dead bulb is.  Awesome.  Just one thing, sometimes the strands are so messed up that it will not light up, but most of the time it will work and let you fix the strand.  When I get my "gun" out I feel like Clark Griswold on steroids.  Give me a partially burned out strand of lights and I'll fix it for you - no problem! 

 Now that I have the power of this gadget, you would think it would take no time to get the tree back to its former glowing glory days.  WRONG.  I got most of the lights on the tree to come up, but had to hunt down each individual burned out bulb.  It was easier to find them with my gun, but in a tree of 3,000 lights, it was still a good game of "find that damn fried bulb".  Gomer was helping me and thought this was the start of a GREAT Christmas tradition.  Yeah, I guess it was kinda fun - for the first 30 minutes.  After three and a half hours of finding the bulbs and replacing each one, it wasn't so much fun anymore.  Gomer, of course, abandoned me after about 20 minutes into our new "tradition".  He was tired and bored.  That kid would never make it in a sweat shop. 

The other thing that sucked about my job was that each dead bulb had to be identified, then pulled out from the wiring, removed from the socket and another bulb had to be threaded into the socket.  My God, I'm just exhausted writing all that - imagine trying to actually DO it over 150 times.  Now I understand why those Foxcomm people in China jump off the roofs.   


This job sucks balls.
I will admit, some of this pain and time was partly my fault because I'm such a cheap bastard and a bit of a masochist.  You can buy 10 replacement bulbs alone without the socket base for a buck.  BUT, if you buy a strand of 100 lights for $3, you get 100 bulbs for $3.  Yeah, you have to pull all the lights off of the strand and remove them from the socket bases, but that's just time and energy - and I've got nothing but time and energy.

I'm all about saving money, I have even taken old strands that barely work and pulled the light bulbs out of those.  Anything to save a buck.  Now, on an hourly basis with the time involved, I am sure I was working for pennies an hour.  But I saved those pennies.  

So, after over four hours of "hunting and replacing", the tree finally went up, with most of the lights coming on.  Looked pretty good too, if I do say so myself.  I told my wife we should think about buying a NEW tree with LED lights.  I have looked, and they are about $600 for the size of tree we have.  So, guess what?  I think Gomer and I have a great new Christmas tradition next year of "hunting and replacing bulbs" - quality time together.  Priceless.  I even got an extra gun today so Gomer can have his own next year.

Jen's Note:  I was more than willing to take new strands of three dollar lights and wrap the damn tree in them, but oh no, the Hubs got all OAM on my ass and spent an entire day hunting and pecking to make the tree "perfect."  I don't know if I should punch him or love him for all his effort.

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38 comments:

TNMom said...

Nifty tool! I will have one! (though my tree is a newer model and I don't think the lights go out....I am sure they will eventually though...I will get one!) Also? Cheap-O! Buy the replacement bulbs in a pack! LOL!

Lori Russell said...

Pre-lit trees are such a racket. I have wrapped many pre-lit trees with lights so that the tree lights up. Doesn't actually seem to save time to me.

Susan Wallace said...

You know what works great? Those 'web' lights that they make to throw over or wrap around shrubs outside. You just wrap them around the tree like a blanket and tuck them in the branches. No going around and around the tree.

Anonymous said...

People who put up their Christmas trees before Thanksgiving? Punch in the throat.

Tanya said...

It looks beautiful!!!

Anonymous said...

I was reading this post thinking you wrote it. Needless to say, I was getting very, very worried about you. Then I realized it was the Hubs and all was right in the universe again.

Jenn @ Something Clever 2.0 said...

Thanks for getting "The Twelve Pains of Christmas" stuck in my head ("one light goes out, they all go out!").

Kari Arvidson said...

Brilliant idea!! We need new lights this year ... Note I know what to grab. The above is the exact reason my hubs won't buy a pre-lit tree.

Anonymous said...

I'll hold, you punch.

fishducky said...

Want to trade husbands? Mine won't let me get an artificial pre-lit tree--& he won't help me decorate!!

Joy said...

I'm pretty sure I laughed through this entire post. Why? Because this was my husband last year. And yes, we got the wonderful Christmas tree light saver as he calls it, but after last Christmas - he said enough was enough and wanted that massive 9ft Christmas tree nightmare out of the house. And, we did just that. We have our new tree this year, and I'm praying that he doesn't have to deal with the light drama next year because he might throw it out the window! Great post! And BEAUTIFULLY decorated tree!

Alicia said...

I gotta go with hubs on this one. It's all a giant conspiracy to get us to break down and buy new strands of lights or trees or whatever. They know that the search for the dead bulb can drive a man to the brink of insanity. But your Hubs kept his cool. Kudos. Keep replacing the bulbs. Don't break down and get the strands. That's what they want you to do! :-P

maarmie said...

One question: Why the hell did you put your tree up already? It's not even Thanksgiving yet!!! My tree will go up the end of the first week of December. Bah!

SouthMainMuse said...

"hunting and replacing bulbs" - quality time together. Priceless.

Holy cow. Remember Phil Hartman? You could be the Anal Retentive Christmas Tree Decorator. You've been battling this for seven years? Impressive. I cut the lights off one of ours last year and strung new lights. I'd stick my finger in the socket if I had to find and replace all the missing lights.

Stacy said...

I, too, have a pre-lit tree and I love it! This is the second year I have used it. Technically, it will be the first Christmas for the tree. I bought the day after Christmas last year. Yes, I undecorated my old, hand-me-down tree just to re-decotate my pretty all white tree. I put mine up before Thanksgiving because I have pets. I had to put one section up at a time for a few days before adding another one because I was not sure if the cats and the dog would let it stand. I only paid about $30 for my 6ft white pre-lit tree. Day after Christmas sales are better than the day after Thanksgiving sales.

Anonymous said...

My prelit worked only the first year. The second year we decided to cut all the lights off the tree- talk about ball suckage- and then restring every year with lights.

My husband would have just wrapped the new lights around the old, love his lazy self, but not me...cheap and plenty of time on my hands!

Love the tree- very OACM - over achieving Christmas mom :)

mokrasouth said...

Won't LET you? Hahahahahaha! My hubs is way smarter than to pull that crap on me. There would be a pre-lit tree sitting in the house so fast, right where his favorite chair used to be.

Jessica Watson said...

Hilarious, my husband is one of those people who would rather throw things out than try to fix them. If we had a prelit tree things could get really expensive around here.

Rebecca said...

My husband can do you one better. Why spend $3 for a 100 light set when you can trash pick lights from your neighbors to use for replacement bulbs?

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for this post today! My hubs has been racking his brain for the name of that gun, watching commercials religiously just waiting for it to come on, to no avail. Those damn pre-lit trees do only last one year so we desperately need the gun, because you are not the only cheap bastard out there...

Kari said...

We put our tree up last night, it's a 9ft. pre-lit, and right in the front is a small cluster of branches with burned out lights. My solution? Turn the tree so the burned out patch is in the back and worry about it later! I wanted to string some more lights on the tree to cover the spot, but my husband told me that would just be tacky. Whatever!

Kathy Gillies said...

We have a 7 ft prelit which will stay in the basement until 2nd or 3rd week of December, thank you very much. DS my enlightened college student asks me every year why I bother putting it up now that he has rejected all religion but does still enjoy/ celebrate "Giftmas." Come to think on it, Wegmans has those live mini trees..... Minimalism has it's usefulness. Remember, I'm the Mom who tied her all white dog in the front yard on Halloween for decoration-- ghost doggy.

Wordchazer said...

Oh gagh! I will not have Christmas tree lights of any sort because I have vivid memories of my father cussing out over the strands they had on their 6 ft tree back in the day. I do have a 6 ft white tree like theirs now - and I have to put the darned thing up as well...my husband won't touch it! I also have to put on all the baubles, decorations, tinsel and fairy hair too. By which time I am in need of a few hours' decompression and a bottle of wine! Last year I had my best friend help me out when her boyf and my husband were away at a stag weekend bash, and that was fun! We had the wine at the same time as the decorating, which was even better.

Stressin' Mommy said...

Hubs is getting better every time I read his stuff! I laughed through this entire thing. Also, I can relate because I felt like someone was writing about my life the past week. Only two strands on our expensive as shit pre-lit tree. Of course it is the very top one and the very bottom so the entire area in between is dark. ADD to that the fact that apparently the entire lines blew at once because all of them that are burned out are black, just like in the picture, only they ALL look like that and you can't get the strands off because they are so strongly attached to the tree. They are on there forEVER. So I have to rewrap the tree all around the middle and hope no one gets close enough to see the 3 miles worth of burnt out strings that are behind them...sigh o-O

Lissa said...

Well, thanks to this post we've spent the last week getting our 16 foot tree lit up properly again. Year after year we ignored a few burned out bulbs, and then it turned into "we'll deal with that NEXT year." So we bought the Light Keeper Pro (cha-ching) and got to work. First, we used all the extra bulbs that came with the tree, then I went and bought 160 bulbs. The next day hubs bought 200 bulbs. Two days later, he bought another 200 bulbs. Yeah, we've replaced somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 bulbs (we have some left for next year's hurrah). So, thanks! But it does look wonderful now :)

Aaron and Julie Fraley said...

I had to bribe an electrician friend with super homemade dinner and dessert in order to save my husband's sanity. 7ft pre-lit Christmas tree with "special" bulbs that you can't buy at Walmart - NEVER AGAIN. What were we thinking? Said electrician is going to have to become part of the Christmas traditions in our family because I don't think my bookworm hubs is ever going to be able to get that stupid tree lit on his own.

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Michelle Mensinger said...

I have just lmao with this post as well!
My husband tries each year to be happy about Christmas. His problem is not that it is a blissful time of year and that we should honor the Christ Child, but the fact: the stores that are overcrowded, people can't drive this time of year, the sales are not really sales but a sadistic plot of store owners to tortue shoppers for one hour, also living with his wife who is stressed from Halloween to Christmas over getting all of 'it' done and complaining she needs help, to putting up outside lights only to find more dry-rot in the eves, to ranking up dollars on the credit cards, but don't forget about - deciding what to give the parents who need or want absolutely nothing - a present that is suitable of our love, and of course the dreaded --- (ba-ba-baaaa) Christmas lights on the Pre-Lit-Christmas Tree with the added me finally saying: "I told you this would happen eventually!".
I also feel the same with this post - it is my life too!
Our tree & my husband was the same as yours as well.
I immediately went on line to "help" him. However, he thinks, if I just help him find the dead bulbs & replace them, it will help him - not finding information on the Net. But we all know in my family, I have one talent, and that is to "google it". Which I did. I am pausing for this brief note to you to say - he is now at HomeDepot looking for the Lit Keeper Pro. Besides writing this post, I am praying, praying that the Lit Keeper Pro is the answer to our prayers & we can have a "Silent Night" & "Happy Holidays".
Merry Christmas everyone!

Alissa said...

haha! my lazy butt didn't feel like searching the tree for a burnt out bulb that happened the first christmas, so I just strung a new string over that area.. This year my replacement string wouldn't work, but while fluffing the tree out I found the broken bulb from 4 years ago, and replaced it

AmyK said...

I have an electric menorah. Nine bulbs, and they all work!

JK said...

Bought a 7' pre-lit tree from Wally World few years back right after Christmas. Couldn't wait until the next Christmas season to set it up, but into the closet it went to await the appointed time. Finally, the day arrived to assemble our new masterpiece. We start the assembly process, building and building, wondering where the lights were hidden. Finally realized the knot heads at Wallymart had placed a 10' -no lights- tree into the nice 7' Pre-light tree box. Great. Luckily, there is one place in the house where it will actually fit. Takes care of the arguments over where the tree will be each year and don't have to chase down random burned out bulbs though...

Lucky Mama (Little Rock Mamas) said...

Our pre-lit tree is on its fourth year -- so far, no burned out bulbs. Of course that may be because we bought an indoor/outdoor tree with an urn for a base so that my then-crawling daughter, our dogs and cats wouldn't knock over the tree. It may be a little ugly, but it works. :)

Rory Bore said...

my husband cuts the tree down. that's his contribution. he even has a special saw. The boy now helps him. It's quite site: the 2 of them lying in the snow, both grunting and sawing away under the perfect tree we have picked out. Since he doesn't help trim the tree - what lights mama wants; mama gets.
I think it's the best Christmas deal ever.

Mimisan said...

Surprisingly our tree from Wal-Mart has been going strong for 3 years. *knocks on wood*

Bob Martini said...

If you are using the LightKeeper to check each bulb, you are doing it wrong. Plug one strand into the LightKeeper, squeeze the trigger several times, plug stand back into power. Light strand should be lit except for the bad bulb. [email protected]

Jessica Carey said...

Million dollar idea here...someone should make those "net lights" in triangular shapes to FIT Christmas trees properly! I would SO buy them!!

Cheesehead Forever said...

Our prelit tree lasted about six years when we ran into multiple light problems. Hubby spent several hours last year trying to remove all of the strands. Removable strands are going on this year!

P Thomas said...

This is why I never have lights on my tree. It's a 6' white (well, fading, after 10 years!) tinsel confection. Draped in endless strands of colored tinsel with large baubles on most branches plus polar bear, teddy, musical note ornaments and so on. No one but me ever notices the greying/yellowing branches caused by putting it in the conservatory window year after year. The thing that gets me is that I have to move all the boxes containing my eBay listings, then assemble the tree by slotting every branch into the trunk in alphabetical order with hooks that are specifically designed to bend my thumbs into anatomically challenging positions. Best started at 4pm on a Saturday night with a full box of wine and completed around 10pm the same night with the help of several glasses of wine, Mr C and lots of swearing!