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Thread: Do you have a pre-lit artificial Christmas tree?

  1. #1
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    Do you have a pre-lit artificial Christmas tree?

    And if so, how long did it last before a section of lights went out? Mine lasted 7 hours.

    I bought a new artificial tree this year and I decided to go with the pre-lit. I thought long and hard about what to do if the lights didn't work, but the tree comes with extra bulbs and fuses so I thought I'd be ok. And - it's hard to find an unlit one these days.

    As you know if you have an artificial tree, the first time you put it up it takes forever to spread out each branch when they're factory-squished. Every year thereafter it takes less and less time to put up the tree since you can never get it to fit back in the box it came in.

    It took me almost 3 hours to put the tree up, un-squish the branches, and decorate. 7 hours later, the entire top half of the tree lights were out. I tried changing the fuses, no luck, and there was no way I was going to try every single bulb in the section that was out. I'm not sure I could be certain I'd tried every one anyway, there are so many lights per section.

    I had no time to un-decorate it, take it apart, return it to Home Depot, get a new one, spread out more factory-squished branches and redecorate. So I had the Home Depot manager write me a note authorizing me to return the tree after Christmas for a full refund. I'll probably buy a non-pre-lit tree instead but I'd really like another pre-lit one. They look so pretty and I've never gotten the hang of putting up the lights in and around the branches.

    Has anyone had a good experience with these?

    Loren
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  2. #2
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    Ugh - that's too bad that some of your lights went out so quickly. I bought a prelit tree this year, and so far the lights are all functional. It was lovely not having to put the lights on it, because that is always my least favorite part. I do really wish, however, that it had more lights. I like a very twinkly tree, and I think this one is lacking. Next year I might add some more.

  3. #3
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    I've never had a pre-lit tree. I don't even have a tree. I had a 5' tree that I bought at Garden Ridge for $20. I gave it to my SIL when the house that I bought came with a huge tree. I was going to buy a pre-lit tree after Christmas this year when they went on sale. I'll be sure to get one that has individual circuits, so if one bulb goes out, the whole section doesn't go out.

    I'm glad you can get a refund after the holidays. I would HATE to have to primp a new tree and decorate it after taking down the old one. That has to count as some sort of torture.
    If loving me is wrong, you don't want to be right.

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  4. #4
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    We got our pre-lit tree last year and it's done well so far. But ours is the kind that only one bulb goes out at a time, not the whole string. What a pain that your lights malfunctioned so quickly.

    Laura, I'm with you - I love a really twinkly tree. Our prelit doesn't have as many lights on it as I'd like either, but I'm not willing to spend the time to put more on.

  5. #5
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    Oh, my poor tea towel swap partner, sorry you're having a problem with your tree. We, too, bought our first artificial tree of any kind this year (pre-lit of course) and so far it's okay. I doubt we would use a fake tree too many times, as we really like the smell and look of the real thing, but this was a stressful holiday season.

    I hadn't thought about how to get it to fit back in the box.
    Margaret

  6. #6
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    We've had our 12' pre-lit tree for four years now and no problems with lights (except for the odd one that pops out during set-up but we've been lucky in finding where it goes).
    In regards to the fluffing of the branches...a major pet peeve of mine is that DH always puts the the part of the tree on before I can fluff! Try fluffing on a 6' ladder!!!
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  7. #7
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    We just one this year and we love it. We keep it lit about 6 hours a day and havent't had a problem. Ours came with a 5 year light warranty and 10 year tree warranty too. We picked it up from www.treeclassics.com as they are not too far away from us. The trees are beautiful quality too.

  8. #8
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    Too bad you had all the decorations on it. I don't know what I'd do inthat position. Maybe you'll just be sitting there one evening and spot the faulty little bugger that is causing the top to go unlit (did you fond the plugs and make sure they are still in place too?). Hope so.

    We bought a tree from Tree Classics too (after seeing them talked about on the BB), but the best choice for us turned out to come only without lights and was a great buy. DH took his time wrapping the branches with 1600 lights with the ends of the strands at the joints. We will leave the lights on and not have to light it again next year or the year after. Doing that ourselves saved us several hundred dollars, but Tree Classics warranty on both the tree and the lights was a big plus.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by Beth
    DH took his time wrapping the branches with 1600 lights with the ends of the strands at the joints. We will leave the lights on and not have to light it again next year or the year after.
    Beth, what do you mean by having the ends of the strands at the joints? I never considered leaving my own lights on an unlit tree.

    Loren
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  10. #10
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    Loren, we did the same thing as Beth with our unlit tree. It's probably got 1,300 or so lights on it - we wrapped each of the branches with lights and made sure that the plug end of each string of lights ended up near the inside trunk of the tree so that they are hidden and can be chained together. We also wired each individual section of the tree separately. So we can take the tree apart in sections (top, middle, bottom) and store the three sections, assembled and still wired, in the attic. No need to re-string the lights next year - just put the tree together, plug the top middle and bottom light sections together, and it's done. It basically becomes a pre-wired tree. And if you ever need to replace a string of lights, it's not such a big deal because it's only one string at a time.

    We discontinued using it last year because we wanted a smaller tree, but otherwise the system worked well (as long as you can fit a partially assembled Christmas tree into your storage space).

  11. #11
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    Yep, what she said. Either assembled and carefully looking for teh jopints between the tree segments or last year we wrapped the lights on the segments and then assembled it. With the segments apart, it's pretty easy to make sure that you have the right end of the cord at the top (receptacle end) and the plug in end at the bottom. By wrapping the branches instead of draping lights around the tree, they stay in place. If you do it in segments, you will either need two sets of hands or the side of a sofa or chair and some patience.

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by Beth
    If you do it in segments, you will either need two sets of hands or the side of a sofa or chair and some patience.
    This really sounds like a great idea! I can see taking the time to string the lights completely once and then having them there for a few years to come. I can be patient if I know up front that I'm in for something tedious! It also sounds easier to string lights by section - no more standing on ladders.

    As I mentioned in my first post, I've never been that good at stringing lights. Do you just wrap the string around the branches starting at the inside of the branch outward, then going on to the next branch outward to inward, then the next branch inward to out, etc, until your string is used up?

    Kathryn, I sent you a reply PM. This is looking good!

    Loren
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

  13. #13
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    My first Christmas as half a couple, we decided that DH would do the lights and I would leave the room. He's the branch wrapper and I was always a tree-draper. I couldn't understand wrestling the tree and taking forever to get the lights on a tree when they would be taken down in a few weeks (this was a huge fresh tree). We decided to divide the tasks -- he got lights and I got ornaments, rather than divorcing (we do paint and wallpaper together though ).

    He could give you more details, but I would start with the receptacle end at the top of the section, leaving a bit free to make sure you can meet the other end from above or hide the one at the top. He wraps around the main branch and some along one side, moving out from the trunk toward the tips and then back in along the other side, then over to the next branch. You get more lights towards the inside of the tree and don't get all the tips unless you take a lot more time and lights, but the cord is more hidden and the tree will be well lit with lights shining both around and behind the ornaments.

    It's probably worth starting with new lights so they last a little longer and your effort pay off is greater.

  14. #14
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    I got it. I think I may give this a try. It's the happy medium between an unlit and pre-lit tree. The pre-lit tree lights seem to be permanently on the tree, which is my problem with the section that's out. At least with using your own lights, you can remove a faulty strand more easily.

    I was always a tree-draper, too, but a branch-wrapper wannabe. Thanks for putting a good description to it!

    Loren
    The term "working mother" is redundant.

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