Today I decided that I was going to get out a few Christmas decorations, even though the weather is extremely confused and it’s in the 60s.



I had some pre-decorating fuel:

Not sure where all of those went…


And began to blast my best decorating music.

Sounds about as fun as my kitchen playlist, no? Don’t worry, my friends at the early bird special and bingo like this music too.


I armed myself with a big lighter and a butcher knife to head down into the basement.

I detest spiders and bugs and am terrified of them.


I brought up one tree, and managed to stay bug-free. We actually have two trees. Let me fill you in:

The first year we were married, I threw a giant fit for 6 months since we lived in Mr. How Sweet’s bachelor pad. He never decorated for Christmas because he was a big grinch. I didn’t think that we would be decorating that year, nor did we really have any room to put a tree. So one day while I wasn’t home, Mr. How Sweet went in search of a Christmas tree. He found a gorgeous, large artificial tree on sale at a great price. He bought ornaments, wreaths and lights, intending to surprise me. Once he got home and tried to get the tree up, it was so big that it wouldn’t fit in the apartment! So he ran out to Macy’s and bought a pre-lit tree that would fit. He still decorated it in time for me to come home to a winter wonderland. Isn’t that sweet?


The other tree is huge, and since it was on clearance it couldn’t be returned. Since this tree was smaller, I knew I could manage to get it upstairs on my own. I brought it up and took it out, then proceeded to put it together.

Pre-lit trees are the bane of my existence. I come from a long line of psycho tree decorators. It takes my aunt a few days to decorate and my mom a few weeks. They put over 1000 lights on their trees as well as hundreds of ornaments. Yes, just like Clark Griswald. Countless times when I was younger, after my mom had hundreds of lights on the tree, it never failed that one strand would go out. Since we’ve had this tree for two years with great success, I have just been waiting for the other shoe to drop and some of those lights to go out.

And today it did.

Ugh.  A big chunk of the lights are out, and I can’t even imagine trying to untangle what is on there. We have a lot of lights for our other tree, but do you have any suggestions? Has anyone had a pre-lit tree before where the lights went out?


As for now, I’m going to do some intellectual research…

…and start on dinner and a big bottle of wine before Mr. How Sweet comes home and figures out what to do with this tree.

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51 Responses to “Adventures in Decorating.”

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    1
    Lauren at KeepItSweet — November 22, 2010 @ 10:07 pm

    i love going to friends’ houses to trim the tree, i wish we celebrated christmas so we could get one:-)

    Reply

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    barefootgirl27 — November 22, 2010 @ 10:13 pm

    never had a pre- lit tree.. sorry.. But I am a Christmas nut & have been listening to carols since the end of October,, the decorations are slowly coming up ( it takes me a while to decorate)

    good luck with the lights.. enjoy your wine :)

    Reply

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    allison @ thesundayflog — November 22, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

    of course that is how things will go. my mom takes weeks to decorate the tree also, and inevitably the middle strand always goes out. last year she was so furious when it went out for the SECOND time that she left it as is. it didnt make christmas any less special. besides, the hundreds of glass ornaments make the tree super glittery anyways! (and at least yours didnt fall! ours came crashing down last year and broke a ton of her super $$ waterford crystal ornaments!) tis the season!

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 22nd, 2010 @ 10:18 pm

      Oh my gosh – that just happened to my aunt last week! It has always been my worst fear.

      Reply

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    Laurab @ foodsnobstl — November 22, 2010 @ 10:18 pm

    Barry Manilow! Yessssssss

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 22nd, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

      Amy Grant is next on the list.

      Reply

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    Alisha — November 22, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

    i know this sounds easier said then done.. but that means there is a light burnt out on that strand, sooo just find it and replace it :D good luck!

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 22nd, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

      I know… ugggggghhhh.

      Reply

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    niki — November 22, 2010 @ 10:19 pm

    that magazine looks delicious – as does the little blue box in your decorations container :)

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 22nd, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

      Hahaha! I wondered if anyone would catch the Tiffany’s box in the ornaments. It’s a tradition Mr. How Sweet does every year. I will share soon. :)

      Reply

      • niki — November 22nd, 2010 @ 10:23 pm

        what a sweetie. i need a husband like that – minus the sleeveless shirts obsession HAHA

        • Jessica — November 22nd, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

          LOL!

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    Michele @ Healthy Cultivations — November 22, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

    I LOVE Barry Manilow… a bit of a “Maniloony” — Have you heard that term? So funny. He does have some wonderful music!

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 22nd, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

      I haven’t heard that term before… haha.

      Reply

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    Ami @ beyondpeasandcarrots — November 22, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

    I’m so excited to start decorating… my husband won’t let me bring anything out yet though… maybe I will sneak decorations up when he is at work ;)

    Reply

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    MelissaNibbles — November 22, 2010 @ 10:27 pm

    I want to decorate my tree now!

    Reply

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    Heather (Heather's Dish) — November 22, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

    i want to decorate so badly but nate’s making me hold off til friday!!! sad :(

    Reply

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    Andrea @ CanYouStayForDinner.com — November 22, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

    Oh my! I’m so happy you’ve begun the decorating process, nothing (repeat:nothing) makes me happier than Christmas decorations. And music to match!

    Reply

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    Low — November 22, 2010 @ 10:45 pm

    This reminds me I need to get my decorations out and see what I need. I am finally buying a new tree this year!

    And I’m terrified of the creatures that will greet me when I go to get the boxes. Eep.

    Reply

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    Kelly — November 22, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

    Yay! I decorated last night as well. I have a white tinsle tree from Urban Outfitters – klassy huh. ;-) I like to think the fact that I have it tastefully decorated with white lights, silver balls, and food-themed ornaments balances it out.

    Reply

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    Mary @ Bites and Bliss — November 22, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

    I can’t wait to start decorating! I was going to put up my tree back at school before heading home, but couldnt find the time between all the tests I had. We’re going to put up the family one right after Thankgiving, though! :)

    Reply

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    Beth @ 990 Square — November 22, 2010 @ 11:10 pm

    Although I haven’t broke out the decorations yet, I did bust out the all Christmas music station on the car radio. I drove home from a party on Saturday night rocking out to the Christmas tunes!

    Reply

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    Leah @ Why Deprive? — November 22, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

    LOVE the playlist. Barry Manilow is awesome.

    We dont use artificial trees in my family – not for lack of trying though. My mom got one once, and my dad and I both caused such a scene trying to put the stupid thing together, she threw it out and we never spoke of it again. :) Now its real trees every year, that wind up beside the house until at least halfway through the summer. Its really quite classy.

    Reply

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    Erika [FoodFitnessFun] — November 22, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

    I can’t believe there’s only a little more than a month until Christmas! I love the holidays! :-)

    Reply

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    kimmy — November 22, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

    i have a pre lit tree and one section went out on me last year. i bought a small strand of white lights and just put them around that part of the tree. i added colored lights over that and it worked out well! there was no way in hell i was searching for the burnt out bulb!!

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 22nd, 2010 @ 11:24 pm

      That’s what I’m thinking I might do. It’s easy to search for a bulb if the strand is loose, but when it’s wrapped around all those branches it’s basically impossible.

      Reply

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    Susan — November 23, 2010 @ 12:00 am

    What is UP with the weather is western PA right now? I wore shorts today!

    As for the tree, you unfortunately have to do the digging to fix it. I would just buy a new string of lights.

    I guess I have to pick up the new bon appetit tomorrow!

    Reply

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    Alison — November 23, 2010 @ 12:04 am

    If you want to try to find the bulb that’s out, try one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Greenlee-GT-11-Non-Contact-Voltage-Detector/dp/B000FCINXE. Or you could just add another strand of lights :)

    Reply

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    Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun — November 23, 2010 @ 12:08 am

    I can’t wait to decorate on Friday!!! I won’t do it before then though. I’m a stickler.

    Reply

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    Sues — November 23, 2010 @ 12:15 am

    That’s so frustrating about the tree! I still let my mom handle the tree… the bf and I don’t have quite enough room for one yet, but will probably get something little :)

    I JUST took a photo of my Bon Appetit, too!! SO excited to have the holiday issue :)

    Reply

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    Krystina (Basil & Wine) — November 23, 2010 @ 12:15 am

    I’d much rather do ‘intellectual research’ than fuss with that tree. I refuse to get a fake tree because putting them together is more frustrating to me than hauling in a real tree and dealing with needles all over the floor.

    Reply

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    Katie — November 23, 2010 @ 12:24 am

    We’re never at our house, so we’ve never done any sort of decorating! Never even had a tree – so I can’t help you with the lights question…good luck! That bottle of wine should help things out. ;-)

    Reply

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    Jenna — November 23, 2010 @ 12:53 am

    I would replace the fuse first. If that doesn’t work, check the lights.

    My husband blew a fuse on our outdoor lights after stringing 5 strands together. Apparently it tells you on the box not to do that, but he didn’t believe it. hah.

    Reply

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    Liana @ femme fraiche — November 23, 2010 @ 1:52 am

    That is the exact reason why i won’t let my mom get a pre-lit tree!! Good luck with the decorating can’t wait to see how it comes out:)

    Reply

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    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — November 23, 2010 @ 2:42 am

    Good luck with the tree!

    Reply

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    Lori — November 23, 2010 @ 11:53 am

    We had prelit lights go out. The tree is probably under warranty. We took ours back that year, because this tree was expensive and they basically gave us a free strand of lights.

    Reply

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    Amanda — November 23, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

    Is that the new issue of Bon Appetit?? I gotta get it! I LOVE that you are decorating already… I did up a tiny little 2 footer yesterday as well!! I LOVE Christmas!!!

    Be blessed sweet girl!

    Reply

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    Stefanie — November 23, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

    Our pre-lit tree had a section out last year. I went to Walmart at probably midnight with all the other crazies and bought stands of I think 50 or 100 lights. I just filled them in where it was out. You couldn’t tell at all with all the ornaments and decorations on the tree. This year we took my parents old tree which is HUGE! It has colored lights which I am not a fan of so Nathan wants to switch out all the lights to white…I think I would love him more for it but also would think he is out of his mind!

    Reply

    • Jessica — November 23rd, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

      Thanks for the tip, Stef! I think that is what I’m going to do. Good luck with the other lights – I can’t even imagine that!

      Reply

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    Kim in MD — November 23, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

    It cracks me up that you listen to Barry Manilow, Jessica! Seriously…that just blows me away! :-) I don’t start decorating until the day after Thanksgiving, and then everything has to be taken down and put away by New Year’s Day- I’m weird like that! :-) I can’t wait to see what is in that Tiffany’s box!

    Reply

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    Erin — November 23, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

    ok… there is actually something you can do about the lights… don’t panic :) They have this gun type thing (sold at walgreens, possibly wal-mart… and maybe even other places). It looks like a plastic gun and you take one light out of the strand that’s burned out or not working, you place the gun inside the open spot and pump it a few times and voila the lights come on. It is seriously magical. My husband and I have had to do this a few times with my snowflake lights that I’m not ready to give up and are darn near impossible to replace. Just when you think it won’t work it does, You have to pump it a few times. It’s just another one of those Christmas miracles :) If you lived anywhere near Idaho I would bring it over so you could try it out!! Good luck!!!! Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions…

    Reply

    • Erin — November 23rd, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

      oh.. and when this does work… we have actually laughed out loud, cuz you just think it’s not going to work. Apparently sometimes…. something gets built up in the electrical line, and the gun pumps it out???? We never thought it would work, but it really has worked so many times… but there is usually a burst of laughter when it does work.. it’s probably relief… ha ha

      Reply

    • Jessica — November 23rd, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

      What? LOL! I have never heard of this. I’m going to investigate today.

      Reply

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    shannon — November 23, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

    I was just going to mention the gun! I went out with my father to help him buy a new prelit tree and the woman at the garden store was talking about the little guns. Who knew?

    P.S. Loved your previous post on potato pancakes. I ate those as a kid too!

    Reply

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    CaSaundra — November 23, 2010 @ 2:39 pm

    I wish I had some of that pre-decorating “fuel” at my house!! ;-)

    Reply

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    Misti — November 24, 2010 @ 3:25 am

    Ha- We got a pre-lit tree at several years ago and the same thing happened to us. I didn’t like it but there were a thousand lights on it already a layer missing didn’t seem to bug me too bad. But it must have bugged me enough because 2 years ago I spent good money on a light gun we sold at work after Christmas – so as not to pay full price. The next year I was all ready to use it and the strand that was out for 2-3 years lit right up! Go figure!

    Anyway, Murphy’s law or something. Here is the gun we got. http://www.improvementscatalog.com/product/code/281902.do?cm_mmc=Froogle-_-ElectricalTools-_-2010-_-281902&code-macs=MP0WFGL&code=MP0WFGL&mr:trackingCode=27E6FEAF-AA35-DF11-9DA0-002219319097&mr:referralID=NA

    Good luck!

    Reply

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    Kat @ Living Like the Kings — November 26, 2010 @ 3:34 am

    Christmas is my favorite. I can’t wait to decorate. But I feel so odd going to get a xmas tree when it’s not snowing!

    Reply

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    Gracie — November 26, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

    YAHOOOO this post made me so excited! The day after Thanksgiving is my family’s official “decorate the house for Christmas” day. Pre-lit tree and all ;) But like you – I’m dreaded the day where one of the bulbs go…*fingers crossed that it’s not today*…

    Reply

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    Torrie @ a place to share... — November 28, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

    So, I have a two hour break (from my kids) and am getting caught up on 5 days or so of missed blog reading… trying to comment as little as possible (so I can get through my reader!!)- but I can’t resist, and just needed to tell you-

    I love that you love Barry Manilow. I felt the need a few months back to make a confession of my own- http://torriesessions.blogspot.com/2010/08/confessions.html. :)

    (oh, and Kenny Loggins, Kenny Rogers, Kenny G- You name it)

    Reply

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