My oldest was born right before Thanksgiving. Perhaps that’s why my husband, ever the type to think ahead, didn’t point out the obvious when I sent him out to get a narrower Christmas tree that was pre-lit while I stayed home with an infant. All was good the first year, the second, even up to the fourth year. Then strands started going out, one by one. At first we were able to replace a bulb here and there but by last year, we were out of replacement bulbs. So we took a bulb out of the tree and went to three different stores, trying to match the size. No such luck. We borrowed and tried a friend’s As Seen On TV light strand fixer. No luck. So with two eager kids wondering where their tree was, we went out one last time and got a strand and put it over the dead one. Not pretty, but it worked.
This year, I was determined to find a solution. Surely someone out there in bloggy land had one, right? Wrong. I came across only three suggestions that made sense. 1. Buy a new tree, sans lights. 2. Cut all the lights off the tree and restring. 3. Douse the tree in lighter fluid and have a bonfire. The first choice seemed like a waste and as it turns out, finding a tree without lights is harder than it sounds. The third seemed a bit extreme (not to mention the fumes issue) so I gathered up tin snips and wire cutters and got to work. After about an hour and one tall kitchen garbage bag full of cut wires later, the third idea was sounding better. I stuck it out though, and in just under three hours, had a lightless Christmas tree.
For anyone wanting to try it at home, cut, cut cut. I thought at first that snipping and unwinding the wire as I went would be the best way to go. The tree, however, had other ideas. Since the tip of each branch has a looped wire over it, it’s quicker to just cut as many places as you can see, starting on either side of the bulb. Give the tree section a shake and a lot the pieces will fall off. Then start pulling off the wires that remain. It’s not painless, but it’s better than sending a perfectly usable tree to a landfill.
Got a pre-lit tree nightmare to share? Let’s hear it! â€” Sarah L.