It’s getting close to that wonderful time of year when we put up the Christmas tree. This year, I’m prepared…I already bought all new lights, so when I go to test last year’s lights and discover that they don’t work, I won’t have to stop what I’m doing and go to the store.
Thinking about putting up the tree has me thinking about the tree itself. We really need a new Christmas tree, for a variety of reasons. And we have needed one for the last few years. But every year, when it’s time to put up the tree, there just isn’t money to replace it, and every year after Christmas, when the trees are on clearance, I just can’t find one I like to put away for the next year.
I can tell you exactly how old our current tree it, because we bought it the day of Moose’s baptism, after discovering that our original artificial tree had taken some water damage in storage unit of our old apartment building. I was so excited to have a pre-lit tree, because it was going to make my life easier. Or so I thought…
I can also tell you exactly when the pre-lit feature on said tree stopped working (much sooner than I expected), because it happened when Ryan was doing his trial period with Automattic, and was so busy with that and his full-time job that the tree was solely my responsibility that year. I was the one who had the fun job of trying to get all of the pre-wired light strands off of it. It took about three hours, because of the way they were twisted and tangled around the branches. Scissors were involved, and probably some swearing, and when I went to bed that night, I was too tired to even put the new lights on…that had to wait. The act of taking off the old light strands also made the tree drop a lot of extra “needles;” much more than happens during the standard putting up and taking down of the tree, thus the shabbiness of our tree (at least the ornaments hide all of the bare spots!). To this day, I can guarantee that I will find at least one piece of cord from the original lights when I put up the tree…it’s happened every year since then.
Whenever I do buy a new tree (like the same basic model I admire at Walmart every year), I do know a few things. I’m never buying a pre-lit tree again. I’d rather string the lights myself every year than think about trying to get the pre-installed lights off again. I also have to make sure that I get a tree short enough to fit in the house (sadly, no nine-foot trees for us), but wide enough around that it has enough surface area for all of our ornaments. I’m also going to get a tree with sturdier needles, so it (hopefully) doesn’t shed quite as much. All things considered, I guess eight (soon nine), Christmases is pretty good for an artificial tree, but this one has definitely seen better days!