There Has to Be A Better Way


I know Christmas is a long way off but I am already getting pains thinking of the $$$$ I spend every year getting the outside tree lit.

Bucket truck $650+. New strands of lights $$. (there’s always one strand or two that fails). One year it was $$$ to an electrician to create a bigger better outside outlet that connected to an inside switch.

But I’m hesitating this year. Last year’s season was a bust – the top strand went dark and there was no way of getting it fixed without the bucket truck here again.

Over the spring and summer, the birds make nests in the trees and peck at any bulbs that are in their way. The bulb covers go kuplink kuplank kuplunk.


So what are my options you reading geniuses? I’ve seen ads for blankets of mini lights one can throw over shrubbery. Or how about using some high-tech laser light method that involves NO actual stringing of lights, only an on-switch?

This seems like a doable plan, rope lights, but only if the rope comes in Christmas colors. I’m not a fan of all white lights (as a rule, sometimes it’s very pretty, but for this tree, I like to stay traditional).


I see from the website (see link above) the rope comes in different colors but not a multi-color spool. If I went with the rope, which would eliminate the bulbs issue, I’d have to have the bucket guy weave red, green, and white cleverly, and while he’s a nice guy, he doesn’t have much of a sense of the aesthetic. I fear I might be spending $$$ for the bucket guy and still not get the look I want.

Bottom line, I want it to look like Rockefeller Center Tree, but without the huge expense annually. H-E-L-P.

17 thoughts on “There Has to Be A Better Way

  1. I think you need grin and bear it and stick with the big, old-fashioned colored lights. Don’t go white, and don’t even go with the twinkly, pastel colored rope lights. It’s Christmas, for cryin’ out loud!

    1. As I said to George in my heart of hearts Frances I agree with you both, but I can’t tell you how frustrating it is year after year to deal with strands breaking or shorts in one line and the expense of it all. I guess I’m just being Bah Humbug.

      Have a great weekend Frances and thanks for stopping by again.

    1. At $34.99 per solar lantern times way too many to count…. not gonna happen. But they might be pretty to add elsewhere. I suspect they have little to no resistance to bad weather and birds.

      Good for you in Cali. Not so much here. Speaking of Cali, now the Governor Moonbeam has declared California a Sanctuary State, is there ever a moment when you think, Hey, this is all too crazy for me? I know you have The Sun and The Ocean and Great Paying jobs. What other state would call you were you to move?

      1. Yeah, I don’t know. It takes a while to push the pendulum back, but, I think it can happen. I’ll think about it tomorrow… in the meantime:

        1. Great tune. I’ll be singing that all night now. Thanks. NOT.

          Loved the Beach Boys and every guy I knew growing up wanted to move to California to see those hot groovy surfer girls. You got to do that. Ur Livin’ the dream for the rest of us dumb East Coasters.

  2. Ha ha ha . Brings back memories. Back in the day, I used to help my paisan with his Christmas decorations at his house in Port Chester. 4800 strings. That’s no typo kiddo. The secret is to double and triple the strings. Especially in the hard to get at areas. A few lights or a whole string go dark, you just energize the adjacent one on. Reptition is the key. If you string right, you don’t even notice that there are 2nd stage and even 3rd stage lights that aren’t lit and are in reserve. Learning the system to switching power to individual strings within a group is the key. Think about it. If strands go dark on the top of Rockfeller or White house tree they sure as hell don’t send in a bucket truck or a climber every time. My buudies Christmas display was written up in the paper every year, he had tv news trucks come around from time to time. Thousands of families would come and marvel and in the splendor of the spirit and his display was a real source of pride in our ginzo neighborhood.

    They go nuts down here as well. We have a Christmas boat parade that goes by right out my backyard. Houses up and down the intercostal are loaded with Christmas lights and its a real sight to see.

    1. Brilliant. Brilliant. Doubling and tripling. Never thought of that. But back in the day before LED lights 4800 strings would have caused ConEd’s meter to go into overdrive. Plus, with that many incandescents, your paisan must have had his own separate power box. For our old house wiring, even 10 strands of incandescents tripled the fuse constantly. No problem with the LEDs thankfully and now that LEDs make real colors, not purple red, they are fine.
      The guy who owns the bucket truck tells us we’re the ONLY customers he has who keep the lights on the tree year round. I balked and not sure I believed him. Did ur friend in Port Chester keep lights on tree year round? I’m guessing not if you helped him every year.

      Good food for thought while I’m watching Jeopardy and Austin continues to win. Up to $332k now. I could buy my own damn bucket truck for that!!

      1. Him and his bro were master electricians on broadway so they probably knew what they were doing and I was only involved to help grunt santas sleigh and the reindeer up onto the roof.

        1. I wish I knew them. They are exactly the kinds of people I need. I think I’m missing the mark by having my landscaper sub-contract the bucket truck when bingo, I need master electricians. Brilliant thought. I’ll still need a bucket truck but maybe I’ll scour Craigslist ads or call electricians locally to see who has done mega trees. Thanks!

  3. The practice in my town and the adjacent one is window candles and wreaths. Wreaths can be on every window or just on the front door. Christmas trees inside are usually brightly colored with traditional bulbs and visible from the street. Not very many outside trees are lit except for the big tree on the town common and sidewalk trees in the business area downtown. A large cut tree in the harbor is decorated with lobster buoys. The whole effect is simple but pretty enough that decorations often stay up long after the holidays. Wreaths often stay up until Easter.
    EOS- I’m afraid I’m going to advise you to stick with tradition and those big, colorful lights you’ve always had. I like that secret if 2 or 3 back-up strands, though. See if there’s a better deal on the bucket loader. You might be able to save a few bucks and get someone with a better eye for the display.

    1. In the good old days, houses on the Bedford Village Green would do simiarly – candles, wreaths, – simple traditons, old fashioned perfection. But someone complained (I remember some merchant complained when the Brownie Scouts/Girl Scout troops would festively paint the shop windows with a Christmas theme). That’s gone too. Only white lights no mention of Christmas. The town lights a Christmas tree tho – actually I think the firemen do…many traditions are gone.

      When I was at Target the other day I looked to see if they had Xmas decorations/lights out. Not yet, right after Halloween I suspect they will. I got a good deal last year on lights. Home Depot had a good deal early too.

      I still want to SEE if there’s a Plan B before I go back to Plan A and moan when a strand goes out.

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