My Holiday Archenemy

Moments before the tantrum.
It’s Sunday, and a few days ago we all gave thanks. Truly, I am thankful for so many things in life. I’m blessed beyond measure, and as the holiday season calls upon us to be merry and bright, there is one thing that can inevitably turn me into a Grinch or a Scrooge, if only for a few shining moments until the moments pass.

Illuminating, yes. Infuriating, maddening, vexing, exasperating…yes to all, as well. Of what do I speak, you may ask?

Every year, I vow to tackle this nemesis of mine, and yet, I become lazy and complacent; when the happy season is over, I just want to put the Christmas decorations away, and so I neglect to properly disassemble and store—in a painstakingly, individual way—the thing that can provoke me to throw an adult-sized tantrum replete with lots of f-bombing and eccentric gesticulating to go along with it.

I speak of my archenemy, of course.

Christmas Lights.

Indeed, these sets of twinkles are meant to light up our homes, make them feel warm and cozy, add ambiance, and allow us to welcome the glow of Christmas into our hearts and lives during the holidays.

But seriously, there has got to be a better design for Christmas lights, and even more so, a better way for putting them away to avoid the galling tangling that will inevitably occur the following Christmas season when it is time to unravel them again.

Christmas lights tangle (“What did I do to deserve this? Why are you making my life miserable? Why won’t you just behave already? Why the hell didn’t I throw you out last season?”; these are just some of the more G-rated utterances that might come from my mouth). The bulbs falter. When one light burns out, the rest of the strand is as useless as this fence.

This fence.
For years, I have tackled the Christmas lights, and I have always won out over them in varying degrees. I have tried every trick in the book (you know the tips: wind them around a toilet paper or paper towel roll individually; wrap each strand separately and store in a bag; tie them together with a tie and separate with cardboard, yadda yadda yadda. These techniques require a tremendous amount of patience, organization, and time. When New Year’s Day arrives and I take down all the decor, I usually just throw the damn things in a box. You know. You’re over it. Time to get ready for the Super Bowl party).

While everyone was posting Christmas tree photos and decorations photos on Facebook yesterday, I was cursing and blasting one of the most important elements of the season. A tree is just not the same without its lights; a front porch or house is not complete without a little twinkle outside; and certainly, Rudolph just wouldn’t be Rudolph if his nose didn’t light up.

I’m calm now; however, I threw about five strands away in my moment of “losing it.” I tossed them into the garbage can triumphantly.

In the end, I will not allow them to get the better of me.

“Come on, Ellie. We’re going to buy new lights. Let’s go,” I shouted victoriously, as I gently forced with great passion the five tangled strands into the trash bin.

“But you just spent all this time on those lights,” she said.

If only I could get back the hours of my life I have spent attempting to replace bulbs and untangle my archenemy.

And so, my dear friends, I wish you well. May your days be merry and bright, and may all your little bulbs work right.

Our Rudolph. So thankful his nose does not require a bulb.

The front requires a lot of twinkle.

Our fresh tree shimmers and glows in our family room.

Added the last strand of garland with–you guessed it–more lights.
The new strands I bought behaved as they came out of the box. What they will do next year, no one knows.


  • findingsherrie

    I feel your pain…. I stuffed all mine in the bottom of a box when I seen the tangled mess they were in. Will I get more lights? Probably not. The tree is thankfully already decked with lights. Good for you for showing those lights who’s boss!! Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

  • Rachel Reid

    I have been dealing with this with a decorative strand of shapes to put on the little Christmas tree. Every year I get frustrated and throw it back in the box. This year, it was a miracle!! I was helping Miranda decorate the tree for her room and the strand of shapes were somehow untangled! I couldn’t believe it!

  • Anonymous

    OKAY, Our prelit tree solves one of your issues, and Dad has an incredible device that takes care of everything else. The results are worth it as always…both here and at your house…it’s a merry time! Charles Dickens would be proud! The Nanny

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