One. Two. Tree.

1546 1546_ () 1546 1546 I’m having a real dilemma today, and I need some help. It has to do with my Christmas tree, and I can’t decide how *into* this problem I want to get.

Here goes: one half of one strand of Christmas lights is out on my tree.

I keep walking by the tree and wondering, am I really going to take all those ornaments down to restring the lights (this time with strands that actually work)? There is no way I can just leave it like that, a tree whose middle portion is completely dark. Can I? I don’t think I can. Do I just add another strand on top of it all? Won’t that look a little, um, busy?

What am I really saying here? Because I think it’s obvious I’ve already made my decision — I can’t just leave it. That would be cruel.

But am I really going to become the kind of person who will redo the tree? Does that sound insane?

No, you are going to tell me, it certainly does not. 1546″>



  1. Wade'n'Kerri says:

    Sometimes if you just give the un-lit portion of the strand a gentle (or not so gentle) shake, whatever connection was loose will re-connect itself and come back to life. That would be my first step!

    And no, you wouldn’t be crazy to redo the tree, although you might become crazy having to do it!

  2. They have a gadget (under $15) that can help you determine which bulb is out. It’s hand held and you hold it up to each little bulb that is out on the strand. It makes a special beep on the one bulb that is burned out. Typically, when you replace that one bulb then all the rest light up too.

  3. Sometimes if you change the first bulb in the burned-out area, that’s the one where the connection is broken and the string will then be okay.

  4. don’t undo it, just add more lights. it might take a little “finageling”, but I’m sure you can do it. 🙂

  5. Wait till all your children are asleep. Open a bottle of wine. And redo the tree. You will be happy!

  6. Next year buy a pre-lit tree *smiles*
    We gave up on the real tree a few years ago. I can’t believe we did, since I considered us die hard about “real”.
    After going out, chopping the tree, bringing home, spending forever “is it straight, is it straight now” and then having little to no energy to string the lights…only to find one out.
    We were gifted a pre-lit tree by my parents…BEST GIFT EVER!

    Answer to your question, I suggest buying the above mentioned gadget that tells you which one is out!

  7. My thoughts….there are so few things we can control in this world…which is tough for those of us who would like to control everything.

    For so many issues, I have to let go of my desire to control the outcome and let God be in charge.

    But for Christmas lights…that is something that I can change, that WILL make me happier 🙂

    So I say….fix the tree 🙂 You aren’t crazy.

  8. Don’t take the ornaments down! Buy a new strings of lights and just work it in around the non working lights. Noone will be the wiser, and it should only take a few minutes once you have the lights. Happy to help!

  9. Tough one.
    If life is busy, leave it and call it a tree with personality. Or string more lights on top and call it the belt & suspenders tree and boys aren't you glad it has both! If you try that gadget that will find the bad light let us know how that goes.

    If there is some time, turn the restringing with working lights into something fun. You know the tree will look fabulous if you take the time to redo it.

    As for plans next year – I have friends who bought a pre-lit tree last year. This year the lights didn't work and he ended up stringing new lights around it anyway.

  10. Elizabeth Foss says:

    If it’s any consolation, I have a pre-lit tree. And the the lights are out on the top middle section and the bottom middle section. What to do? We can’t figure out which bulbs are the problems. The tree is decorated (Mike thought it would all light up if given a little time to “warm up”). Do we undecorate and add some new strands to the prelit tree, live with it, or live with it now and buy a whole new tree after Christmas?? I dunno…

  11. Earth Girl says:

    Let us know what you do, but I would never redo the Christmas tree. I’m sure you’ve checked that all the bulbs are seated into the sockets and checked the little fuse thingy at the plug. Then, push the dead lights deep into the tree and put a working set in front. You have better ways to spend your time during this season, such as spending those moments meditating the Christmas story and what it must have been like for Mary to raise the King of Kings, who I suspect was all boy.

  12. the Mrs. of the House says:

    oh I was just having this exact problem today! Our tree is the pre-lit kind. We’ve had it for 5 years now. 2 years ago, some of the lights quit working and we used one of those gadgets to fix it. The next year, we couldn’t figure out which bulbs were bad, and there were even more out that year than they year before. So I just strung my own lights on top of the trees’ attached lights. Then this year, same thing…a lot of the lights are out, and I just said bah, and I strung the whole tree with my own strands of lights. Got it all decorated, then what happened? Two of those strands went out and I had 2 dark sections on the tree. argh! I have so many ornaments and garland that I could not just add some lights on top…so, I took all the decor off and re-did the whole tree. I just re-did it in a different way. and no one can see all the wires…the dark bulbs just disappear into the tree. So, no, you are not crazy at all. I think you’re just making the best for your home.
    I won’t get another pre-lit tree. I’ll get a plain one, and string it myself. Probably with new strands every year. LOL and yard sale the used strands. 🙂
    That gadget is great if you have just a strand out but more than that it’s just too much trouble.

  13. welcome to my world. we, too, stand with one foot in the world of wanting to share our tree lights with the world (shutters open) and then standing with the other foot in the world of wanting to share our tree’s lack of lights (shutters also open).
    One lovely, one honest.

  14. Please don’t redo the tree…there isn’t enough wine in the world to make that worth it!!

    I agree that you can neatly string in another set and light up the tree. No one will notice but you and a few perfectionist freaks and we all know they can’t be impressed anyway.

  15. fellow mom of boys here(four boys for me 8, 5, and 9m), and i say… don’t you DARE take all those lights and ornaments off and start over… just um… celebrate the chaos of it all and let your poor tree (and your poor SELF) be! In the future, it will just be a memory and you’ll always remember this year and your unlit portion of the tree! Pretty sure Santa doesn’t really care too much! 😉

    (ps. your blog makes me smile! :))

  16. (ummm opps! i have a 4 year old too… too many boys to keep track of i guess 😉 poor little dude!)

  17. I would start by trying to fix the lights already on the tree. Unless they’re diode lights you ought to be able to get the whole thing working by changing the dead bulb.

    Um, tip for the future? **ALWAYS** test the lights by plugging them in BEFORE you put them on the tree.

    I have to say, if it was me, and the dead bulb tweaking didn’t work – I would redo it. Granted, I don’t have any kids at all, so you can feel free to ignore me. But you only get to have a Christmas tree for what, two weeks out of the year? You might as well enjoy it – and you sound like you probably won’t if the tree is doing astrophysical experiments with black holes.

  18. Ruth Anne Adams says:

    I’m a contrarian: don’t fix the lights and offer up your suffering to the baby Jesus, much like a little drummer girl. Or, you could consider it a down payment on the self-sacrifice of Lent and take off the first week of Lent.

    Can you post an update? I’m curious to see how this comes out.

  19. I have had unlit portions of lights on a Christmas tree in years past as well. But I have to say, only on my pre-lit tree!! We have done a real tree for the past 2 years and I will never go’s so lovely. The pre-lit tree now has been demoted(or maybe promoted)to the children’s play area, since the unlit portion doesn’t seem to bother them one bit. 🙂

  20. Oh, and I forgot to mention, it’s my experience as well that you can easily hide the dark lights with nice, bright, new ones stuck on in front.
    Post a picture of it once you’re done and tell us what you did!:)

  21. Can you try moving other working lights that are already on the tree to cover the area? Just stretch them over a bit to cover, if they’re not already wrapped on so tight. Or add another strand on top, so you don’t undo all your work. Please take a photo of the finished product and post!

    We haven’t put up our tree yet, waiting a little longer, but this has motivated me to get going…
    love your blog!

  22. The same thing happened to us. Don’t redo the tree. Put another strand or two on in the dark spot and really, no one will ever notice. They just see the lights that are glowing. And put lots of ornaments there to maybe hide some of the blank ones.

  23. Oh, I’d do it in a heart beat! But I’d do it after my husband went to bed so that he wouldn’t know how bad I really am. I think it would scare him.

  24. Courageous Grace says:

    Hi. I love to read your blog. My only child so far is an 11 month old boy and since I come from a family made up of mostly women, I have no idea what I’m doing raising him.

    On to your dilemma. I saw your post above updating the situation, but thought I’d offer my $0.02 on the situation. Next year you could throw away your old strings of lights and purchase LED strings. They use up much less electricity than incandescent bulbs, and like newer light strings, if one bulb burns out the rest stay lit.

    The one thing that caught my attention about your dilemma is that you seem to have a very old string of lights because even the c7 and c9 strings sold now are designed to stay lit if a bulb burns out.

    I plan on eventually replacing all of my Christmas lights with LEDs. They’re safer, cooler, and less expensive to run…although they do cost a bit to buy.