Umm…is this normal?

03 Dec

photo 2

So, I don’t know if I had unrealistic expectations or if I got taken for a ride. Maybe the Grinch is having a laugh at my expense.

Every year, when it’s time to decorate for Christmas, I fuss about assembling and fluffing the boughs of our artificial 6-1/2-foot tree then curse the hours it takes to wrap the entire thing in lights. So back in 2010 the hubby and I shopped the after-Christmas sale at the base exchange in Japan and got a great deal on a full-size, pre-lit tree. Due to limited space in our English living room, I only put up the 4-foot tree the past two years, but today, back in our spacious Virginia home, I opened the new tree for the first time.

I was completely taken aback to find a tree, in three sections, wrapped in the same strings of Christmas lights I normally use and curse. I’m not entirely sure what I expected to see, but that was not it. I’ve never closely inspected the display models in the stores, so I don’t know how I thought the tree was going to be lighted, but I certainly was not expecting wires running all over the place. I thought I was getting away from visible wires.

Did I get a cheap-o, low-quality tree? Or is this how all pre-lit trees are manufactured? All I can picture is some horribly underpaid worker in a Chinese factory slinging the Mandarin version of my curses as he wraps tree after tree in lights before disassembling them, folding them up, and stuffing them in impossibly skinny boxes.

If I’d known that this was the concept behind a pre-lit tree, I would have saved our other, much nicer, artificial tree. If visible wires are inescapable, I could have wrapped our tree in lights one final time, being careful to line up the electrical connections where the tree breaks down. Then, in January, I could have unplugged the light strings, leaving them all in place on the branches, and crammed the three sections of the tree back into the original box. Viola. Next year a pre-lit tree.

I’d feel much better to know if anyone else has had a similar experience with a pre-lit tree. Was my discovery normal? Do they make pre-lit trees without traditional strings of lights running all around the branches? Has the Grinch been messing with my tree?

Update December 4: I took a field trip to Lowe’s today and looked carefully at all of their pre-lit trees. They all seem to have strings of regular Christmas lights wound through their branches. So it appears that I did not get Grinched after all. Whew!


Posted by on December 3, 2013 in How It Is, True Life


4 responses to “Umm…is this normal?

  1. Janet domino

    December 3, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Hey-I bought the same tree at the same after Christmas sale on base and all I can say is watch out for the stand! Ours broke at the slightest touch! Don’t know if it’s the Grinch but I do know it wasn’t worth the money even on sale!

    • dreaminofobx

      December 4, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      I guess I’ll be on the lookout for a better quality tree at this year’s end of season sales. I’m embarrassed by this one! Maybe I can go to Goodwill and buy my old tree back???

  2. helenrj

    December 4, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    I don’t know anything about pre-lit trees. My beef with Christmas lights came this year when I switched from regular twinkles to LED twinkle lights. It was a disaster. The strands did not match! The lights were different colors by manufacture error. I had to take back 5 strings to Wallyworld on Black Friday weekend. Aarghhhh!

    • dreaminofobx

      December 4, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      Ick–Wallyworld on Black Friday is a scary place to be. I got three strings of clear lights today, and checked inside the boxes before leaving the store to be sure that they all looked the same because of your warning. So far, so good…we’ll see what happens when I plug them in….


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