So it’s that time of year again. That time to prepare for angry shoppers, rude workers, strange elves and questionable Santa’s.
Oh yeah, it’s also time for the family Christmas Tree.
Before I go on, I will let you all in on a little secret. Prelit Christmas Trees? My idea. No really. I swear. I’m not even kidding. I came up with the idea 20 years ago, way before anyone else.
You see, I had fond memories of my father putting lights on our Christmas tree. This was back when a strand of lights was really nothing but a big circle with a plug on each end. My dad would gird himself for war (no doubt with a number of alcoholic beverages to help stay calm) and pick up the lights and stare at them. And frown. That’s how it started every year and was quickly followed by cursing, stomping of feet, flying strings of lights, and a face so red it would make Rudolf weep with envy.
Needless to say, it colored (ahem) my perception of decorating a Christmas tree. However, being the optimistic (HAH!) man that I am, I was certain that I would not encounter such problems. You see, by the time I got married, they had come out with a new design in lights. Two strings twisted together, with plugs on both ends. The idea was to simplify light installation by allowing you to simply go around the tree with the string of lights and wrap them around the branches. Unfortunately for me, I was unaware I married someone with OCD and there was NOTHING simple about installing the lights. They had to be PERFECT. I do men PERFECT. I would stand there with amazement as I watched my lovely new wife walk around the room and view our tree from different angles, telling me exactly where I had gone wrong with placing the lights on the tree. This would go on for hours.
Our first Christmas might have been a tad bit aggravating for me where the installation of lights were concerned, but what was to follow just finished me off. We didn’t have a lot of money when we got married, and we both were a little on the thrifty side, so I purchased what you would call “value Christmas lights”. I think it was a week when they all stopped working. Of course, being value lights, they had no fuses in the plug. Oh no. So I had to go buy more value lights, and cut off the plug, and splice it on the lights on the tree to get them working again. This happened on average of once a week.
At the end of our first Christmas together, I was sitting there thinking about how awful the whole Christmas tree event was, due to the lights, and inspiration hit. A tree that had lights on it ALL THE TIME. In short, a prelit Christmas tree. I immediately contacted one of those firms that are supposed to help you patent an idea and of course, when I learned how much money it was going to cost me, I started procrastinating and alas, years later, my dream became someone else’s product. Sad.
That brings me to the present time. A number of years ago, when we actually HAD money, we spent a small fortune on a very nice prelit Christmas tree. All was well with the world for years, as we sat it up, plugged the sucker in, and BAM. A lighted tree ready for decorating. SWEET!
But two years ago, when I plugged in our prelit tree, the sucker only had about half it’s lights working. Once again, I was faced with a dilemma. But this nifty little device I found saved the day. I won’t get into what it was, but if you want to know ask me, because this thing really does work. It’s a little gun shaped device that will magically make your lights come on when they don’t won’t to. Sorta like the threat of grounding your kid when they won’t clean their room. But last year, this nifty magical gun only got about 75% of the lights working and we had to *gasp* add lights to the tree. Fortunately I was saved from having to do this by my 17 year old daughter who I conned into doing it by calling her when I was out and telling her those lights better be on the tree when I get home. Very effective.
But this year? This year none of the lights are working. I tried the magical gun, and all I got were a few flashes from a few bulbs. No joy. No lights. No prelit tree ready for decorating and once again I’m faced with installing lights on the tree.
I had a lighter in my hand and I will admit, it was a close thing. Hey, a burning tree is a good way to celebrate Christmas don’t you think? I also had images of me dressed as a Spartan and yelling “THIS IS SPARTA” as I gleefully kicked the tree out the window. Somehow, I restrained myself, not because I’m married to a woman who knows the best way to take down a man, but because I didn’t want to worry her.
I’ve just decided to leave town for a week so that my wife or daughter will do it. My mamma didn’t raise no dummy. So, just so you know, there is no decorated tree in our house yet. And if you have a prelit tree, you can pay me for coming up with the idea by sending checks or money orders. I also have paypal. All donations are welcome.
Here is to the awkward realization that I could have been rich, but instead have face putting lights on a tree again.