03 December 2018

[Bess Tuggle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: Christmas Lights & Electrical Hazards

I have a confession to make.  I admit there’s one more fire hazard in our household, over and above the tree, during the Christmas season, and I don’t say this lightly (pun not intended, but I’ll leave it).  It’s me.

For some reason Christmas lights are my nemesis.  Big trees, little trees.. it doesn’t matter.  The lights and I just can’t seem to get it together.

There are at least a dozen strands of Christmas lights in a box that I pull out of the attic every year.  After years of experience I’ve learned they’re best put up like a ball of yarn that you’d wind up for knitting.  They don’t get tangles, don’t cause any less expletives, but at least their easier to work with – assuming they work.  

Single strand lights, double strand lights.. the triple strands that are ‘guaranteed’ to always work…  They don’t.


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I plug in and test each and every strand of lights, regardless of the size of the tree, before putting them up.  It’s usually white lights around the trunk with colored lights around the boughs.  It never fails that after testing and putting all the lights on the tree that at least one strand will fail when I plug ‘em back in.  If they don’t, a couple ornaments hung up will do it to it.

I HAVE A FULL BOX OF CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHT BULBS!!!  Every size and shape you can imagine, but for some reason none of them ever seem to work after I put the lights on the tree!  There’s even a set of fuses for each and every strand of lights.   (Please don’t share this with our insurance company).

That’s usually when I decide to get creative, or so frustrated I can’t stand it anymore.  Aluminum foil, or even an old gum wrapper, can make a world of difference in a string of lights.  LET THERE BE LIGHT – and keep the fire extinguisher handy!

My husband is an electrician.  I terrify him.

Bess Tuggle