Tag Archives: Christmas lights

Strung out

I’ve had my Christmas tree up for a couple of weeks already. That’s unusual for me, but with Mom going in for surgery and all that entailed, I decided to plan ahead and put it up earlier than normal.

But of course, when you put your tree up earlier than normal, that just gives your tree lights more chances to burn out. The strings of mini-lights that I have are the type where if a bulb burns out, only half the string will not light, so that you don’t have to try replacing all 100 bulbs till you find the culprit, only 50 bulbs. Such a time saver.

background_of_colorful_christmas_lights_decorative_garlandThat is exactly what happened. But although I tried two separate times, I just couldn’t find the burnt-out bulb. I was so frustrated! I mean, how hard can it be to take each bulb out and try a new bulb in each socket until the dark half of the string lights up??? And as I stood there, pissed off, the other half of the string went out! That’s it, I thought. I need to buy a new string of lights. I am NOT going to waste more time trying to find the burnt out bulbs (plural now), I am just going to replace the whole damn string.

I went to disconnect the wonky string. I only just touched it and the NEXT attached string of lights went dark! What the hell?!? (Not exactly a Christmassy-type emotion, granted, but I was VERY perturbed by this time.)

I jiggled the newly-dark strand, thinking that maybe there was just a loose connection, seeing as how I hadn’t even touched the strand at all. Nothing happened. Okay, now I needed to buy TWO new strands of mini-lights.

Have you ever tried to buy mini-lights for your Christmas tree the week before Christmas? Well, it’s pretty much impossible. I went to a couple of stores, but their shelves were almost bare. I spoke to an employee in one of the stores, and she said that all they had were strings of outdoor mini-lights, all in green. We opened the box and I thought they looked almost exactly like what I already had. I prefer multi-coloured lights and didn’t particularly want all green, but hey, it was working strings that I was after and I had lots of replacement bulbs in my two non-functioning strings of lights. So I bought the last two boxes.

I thought I’d have to spend about an hour to replace some of the green bulbs with the coloured ones that I would take out of the non-functioning strings. Ha! Nice dream!

It turned out that the actual bulb bases on my new strings, seeing as how they were actually outdoor lights, were slightly bigger than the bases on my old strings. That meant that I had to take the green bulbs and bases from the sockets, remove those green bulbs from the bases, put new red, yellow or blue bulbs into those bases, and then put the whole thing back into the sockets. To do about 75 lights on one string took me all evening – almost 4 hours. I did the second string the next night, and was finally able to festoon my Christmas tree with lights again.

And when I told this story to my mom last night, she said, “Did you say mini-lights? Oh, I have two big strings of those that I’m not using any more. Do you want them?”

Uh – yeah. Thanks, Mom.



It’s begun!

I am decreeing that it is officially the Christmas season now.

And on what have I based this decree?

On three things, actually. One is that PG and I visited the Vancouver Christmas market to kick things off this weekend. It’s our version of the traditional German one, and according to what Bevchen over at Confuzzledom has described, ours is pretty authentic. There is a carousel, lots of food stalls, lots of Christmas craft stalls, lots of music, lots of people and glühwein!

Mmmm, glühwein …

I didn’t take any photos while we were there, but hey, you can check out the website and see for yourself if you’re interested.

The second thing that signifies that the Christmas season has well and truly started is that after we went to the Christmas market (and DO NOT ask how much money I spent. Just DO NOT.), we drove over to one of Vancouver’s downtown beaches to see if “my” tree was lit up yet. This is actually a small clump of very large trees between the road and the beach itself that are lit up with what seems like thousands of Christmas lights every year. If I’m not mistaken, the lights were originally put up to raise awareness of AIDS, but I’m not sure if that’s still the case. Anyway, I coerce PG into making the pilgrimage every year to see these trees in all their glory, but we usually go much closer to Christmas Day. This was the earliest we have ever gone to see them, and happy-happy-joy-joy, the lights were on! See how pretty there on the beach at sunset? photo

So when I got home, the third harbinger of Christmas had to be set into motion: I finally plugged in my outdoor lights and turned them on – a full three weeks after we put them up. No point in doing some things TOO quickly, is there? One needs the proper motivation, don’t you think?

Yup, ready or not, the Christmas season has arrived.

Now I just have to find time to compile my own Christmas list and distribute it to the necessary people, to buy and wrap some presents for all of them, to get my Christmas tree up and decorated, to do some baking, to attend some Christmas parties …and maybe, just maybe, to relax and enjoy it all!


It is January 8th. I think we would all agree that the Christmas season is now over, wouldn’t we? And wouldn’t we all therefore accept the fact that it is no longer appropriate to have our outdoor Christmas lights on every night?

Wouldn’t we???

Someone should share this radical idea with the people who live across the street from me.photo

And with the people who live across the shared driveway from me.photo1

I’m beginning to feel like the neighbourhood crankpot just because I’ve taken down my Christmas lights already.