Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Are You REALLY Going To Put All Those Lights On? A Christmas Tree Lighting Tutorial

           In the spirit of my other holiday-oriented posts, I thought I would continue on this path and share my tree-lighting knowledge with you. While some of you have seen pictures of my work, and a lucky few have witnessed it up close, I don't know that anyone has actually gotten to watch the process. Unlike with two of my other holiday favorite activities, chocolate making and outdoor Christmas lighting, very little swearing happens during this process. It's family friendly! 
            First you must start with a large tree. I love it when the tree is slightly too large for the room it's in. My brother's girlfriend, my brother, my mom, and I all were unanimous in picking this guy. Luckily it's not quite as tall as the one we had last year, which looked like it was growing through the ceiling. 

           You're going to want to make sure all of your lights work before you get ready to put them on. That way if you need to run out and buy more lights, you can do it before you start wrapping the tree. I like to to replace burnt out bulbs with bulbs from defunct strings from my outdoor displays. Please note the red hoodie - not for Christmas, but for Indiana. Go Hoosiers!

           Organize your supplies. Make sure you have alcohol handy. Some companions might be nice also. 

           Okay now we're ready. I take stock of what I have and decide what order I'm going to put the lights on in. Since I have more colored lights, I usually start with those. The first sets of lights get wrapped in really close to the trunk of the tree, so you can't see the wires. I start on one side at the bottom and walk around to the other side and then work my way back and forth in S shapes until I get to the top. After I get to the top, I work my way back down in the same manner. This here on the left is what 500 lights looks like. It's kind of sad isn't it? I can't believe some people stop here! 

Now here to the right you have the 500 multicolored lights plus round two - 250 multicolored twinklers (I just love those) and a set of 100 purple lights. I picked up the purples a couple of years ago. They're not my favorite, but they do add some interesting warm color. I like them as a close to the trunk strand as well. Resist the urge to plug more than 3 or 4 strings of lights end to end unless it specifically tells you on the box that you may do more than that.

            AAAH it's a tree! There it is. So here I've added another 200 multicolored lights of the opaque frosted variety. They're hard to find. I'm not sure where you can get them anymore. If you happen upon some, please let me know! 
           The next critical step was to get another beer out of the fridge. Then I was able to add the two strings of 100 ct. gold colored lights. That gives it a nice warm glow. You may be able to tell from the picture that the lights have started coming out along the branches of the tree. You want to work your way out. It's still nice to try and hide the wires. I do not recommend wrapping them around the branches. You will regret it when you go to take the tree down. We're about halfway there.

             The year I discovered the beauty of solid green strings was a good one. The tree's green, why not light it in its natural color? 300 green lights and then 200 twinkling whites went on in this round. I like white lights a lot. I can't have all colors. I need variety, clearly. 

            250 Clear white lights and 100 frosted white lights brightened the tree up quite a lot. I like to get it so you don't need to turn other lights on in the room. We're ALMOST done. The last bit is 300 blue lights in three different hues. They're my favorite color, I can't resist. And, they cool it down if you happened to overdo it with the warm colors. (NEVER try to fix an over exuberance with one color by taking lights OFF the tree).

         Here you have it. 23 strings and 2400 lights later, this is what you get. Before you venture out and try this yourself, I suggest you figure out what circuits your microwaves, hair dryers, refrigerators, etc are on. You wouldn't want to have your whole apartment go down because you plugged in the Christmas tree. I also recommend you not leave your tree plugged in when you leave the house. Smokey the Bear would not be pleased if you started a forest fire in your house. 

Disclaimer: If you do decide to attempt my style of Christmas tree lighting, I will not be held liable for damage caused by small or large fires, death or injury resultant of strangulation by Christmas light cable, anaphylaxis from too much contact with pine or fir trees, strained back and shoulder muscles from too much reaching, bruises and broken bones that may occur while falling off chairs, any injury obtained while attempting to wrap lights around your cat, added cost to your electric bill, or negation of your Homeowner's Insurance. 

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