Things I Hate....

Christmas lights. Actually I don't hate Christmas lights. I kind of like the soft glow that all the icicle lights give around the house. I don't even mind putting up and taking down the lights. I know where the lights go on our house and pretty much have the system down. It's usually pretty simple.

Usually being the operative word. Our lights were getting pretty old last year. Bulbs were burning out at an alarming rate and being out in the elements for several years was taking a toll. So I thought I would just buy some new strings of lights. Simple enough. The problem is, simple usually isn't.

First of all, new icicle lights are a pain in the neck. They are packed with all the icicles bunched up. So you can't just put the lights up, you must staighten out all the wires of each icicle. Even after you straighten the wires, they want to go back to their previous form. Here's an idea for the makers of icicle lights. Package the lights with the icicles pulled nice and straight. Sure the package will be bigger. But I'd pay more for lights packaged that way. I'm sure others would too.

Secondly, after straightening all the little individual icicles, we started hanging the lights and discovered that the new strings of lights were shorter than the old strings. The new strings are 22 feet long, according to the box. The old strings must have been about 25 feet long. Now my carefully planned lighting arrangement no longer works. Ugh.

A few more extension cords and some rearranging and it all worked out. But what should have been a relatively easy task of hanging the lights, turned into a pain in the neck.

Why is it the simple things in life always seem to so hard? Is it because of our expectations? When we expect something to be difficult, do we come at it with a different mental attitude than when we expect it to be simple? Is that why we often don't believe the simple things in life? We say, "That can't be right, it's too easy." We usually expect it to be difficult. I wonder if that's part of the reason why people don't believe in Jesus - it's just too simple. Certainly the creation of the world must have been more difficult than God simply speaking. Certainly salvation must be harder than just believing in Jesus. I wonder how I can tell my friends that it really is that easy...


Kimmi said...

dude, you feel my pain EVERY SINGLE YEAR! :c
we haven't put ours up yet...not lookin forward to it -_-

Steve G said...

Steve G. says...

x-mas icicle lights...Pain to straighten out fresh from the box!
Yikes! (Especially the 200 to 300 light bulb sets)

I heard that heating them up with a blow dryer or putting them out during the warm weather helps, but I have a simple solution (if you wait until the colder weather...which most of us do unfortunately).

Small plastic tie straps!

Step by step instructions:

(1) Remove lights from box.
(2) Stretch out each bunch.
(3) Use a regular twist tie and attach a stretched out five to six feet long section to a horizontal stick or pole.
(4) Gently pull down each string to extend somewhat...they generally have alternating individual strings of six...then four bulbs.

Here's where you can do your own thing:

(5) If you want REALLY straight individual strings..put a small plastic tie strap around each light bulb housing and the wires. The string can then be shaped very straight down.
(6) Most people don't want them absolutely straight however....so I attached a plastic tie strap to the #3 and the # 5 of the 6 light bulb string section and the #3 of the 4 light bulb string section. This way you can still straighten them out somewhat, but it still leaves a bit a "swag" or curve to each string. Too straight just doesn't look as good.
(6) Remove the twist ties and do another section until you have the entire string completed this way.
(7) Hang up entire string of lights outside as desired....you can use a straight top line or alternate the top line in a swag fashion itself for an extra swag effect.

I know this all takes a bit of patience initially, but once you do it this way, the entire string is easy to handle, put up and take down. If you take them down after x-mas, they will not tangle. Or simply leave them up year round as some do.

I hope this helps relieve the hassle that I've heard most people have had with these lights.

Enjoy the x-mas season!