Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree: The Fifth Rant of Christmas

"The little lights... they aren't twinkling." "I know, Art. Thanks for noticing." -from Christmas Vacation.
What's wrong with this picture?

My Christmas tree is f*cking with me. And now it's war.

Today I told My Director that I hate the tree. Hate it so much I want to get rid of it. Why the sudden burst of Grinchness from an otherwise festive fellow such as myself? The lights. For whatever reason, this year they decided to make a fool-tide of my Yuletide existence.

This is the one area of interior design most men truly embrace. So like many men, I take pride in my ability to string lights on the tree. Like many men, I test them before I string them up. And like many men I have thrown many tantrums when the entire strand inexplicably doesn't light. Or worse, half of it doesn't light. What the hell happens in the attic from February to November when these lights are hibernating with the rest of the decorations? They work less frequently than Congress and are just as frustrating.

Last year, I'd had enough. My Director foolishly insisted I go through each non-functioning strand bulb-by-bulb to determine which was the culprit. I refused. Who has time for that? Instead, I bought new sets to replace the ones with those rogue bulbs. $4 is a small price to pay for my sanity. You mess with me, lights, you get the trash heap.

But this year, the lights got their revenge. Just when I thought my genius plan had solved the problem of the Congressional Christmas decorations, they waited until they were ON the tree to go out. Evil. Pure evil.

One of my favorite things this time of year is coming downstairs at 4:30 in the morning and stepping on my handy little button to turn on the tree on my way to the shower. One morning though, my lovely pre-dawn light show was ruined when I immediately noticed an entire strand in the middle of the tree had decided to go on strike. My solution? I'm just going to buy another one, and place it OVER the striking strand. The alternative was taking ornaments off, and finding the beginning and end to the offending set of lights and taking it off as well while disturbing everything else. Absolutely not. No one will notice anyway. (Actually, I'm pretty sure my sister and brother will. And they'll mention it too on Christmas Eve, like Clark Griswold's father-in-law in the quote above.)

Dark on top
As I was carrying out my counterattack later that day, the striking light set magically decided to return to work. Dastardly devils. Fine. Now there are even MORE lights on that part of the tree. Pretty tree. I love you again.

Until this morning, when we turned it on and the lights at the very top were off. This tree is toying with me, mocking me, testing my last bit of patience. Back to CVS for more discounted lights. And I will once again perform surgery without removing the bad ones or any ornaments for that matter.

The reason I love our tree so much every year is because it tells our story. We've bought one special ornament a year to represent that time in our life together. They include pictures of Peanut and Luna, ornaments from vacations and special places and accomplishments. This year, it's telling a gripping tale of war. A seemingly endless back-and-forth struggle. I am determined to be victorious for the sake of Christmas, and my sanity.
I love this one of baby Peanut with her arm around Luna
Click here to read my First Rant of Christmas.

Click here for my Second, Third, and Fourth Rants of Christmas.


  1. I hate that! Every year I think my stupid lights will wort but there is alway one strand that goes out. I just replace every light on the whole tree... I'll gladly pay $15.00 to know that all the lights will work. I think the trick is to store them ON. I have had light strung around my sons door continuously for 5 years, only TWO BULBS. Have gone out. I hate the lights.

  2. Tale as old as time. Ugh. I can give you my dads number as I'm sure he is yelling about it right this minute. You dads, the things you do for a great Xmas for us girls.

  3. They have a fancy little gun thing that helps you find the offending bulb. No need for removing them one by one anymore! We bought it and it works well - even tests the bulbs. Spent about $5 AFTER Xmas one year and used it the next :) Worth a shot!

  4. So very true! Thank God for CVS and discounted lights. I am also thankful that the nearest one is around the block from me, so the last minute trips aren't so bad.

    Even worse is when it happens to your lights OUTSIDE the house and it's 25 degrees out. Not that nice late November weather when you put them up. But God forbid you allow half your gutters to illuminate.

    Great Rant!


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