The very last decoration in our home to go up every year for the holidays is the Christmas tree. We have a 10 footer that I bought 20 years ago and it is still as beautiful today as it was the day I bought it. What I like about this tree and don’t like at the same time is that I can put as many lights as I want to on it. It is not prelit, so this means a lot more effort in putting this up every year, but I doubt I’d be happy with a prelit one. Typically I have between 2800 and 3400 lights on our tree. Yep, I like to light it up. The reason for this is that our family tree is the only decoration that is lit every day during December. The rest of the decorations are not lit unless someone is over. This being the case, I really like to make the most of this one decoration.
Assembling the tree takes me about 8 hours, four tree cords, three power strips, two extension cords, and a partridge in a pear tree!
I use a combination of white and colored lights and have the tree wired so that both the colored and white lights are wrapped around each and every branch. The white lights are plugged into two of the tree cords and one of the power strips and the colored lights into the other two tree cords and the other power strip. This way, I am able to light only the white, only the colored, or both — depending on my mood. Also, being that it can be costly to run all 2800 lights every night, I like to have the option of only running half the lights and still having the entire tree lit.
I figured out that it costs $0.15 per hour to run the entire tree and only $0.075 to run half. This is quite a difference for the whole month. I realize that it would cost only $0.004 to run all 2800 lights if I used LED’s, but the conversion cost from the lights I currently have to LED’s would be more than it costs to run my tree for several seasons. Not an investment we’re ready to make at this point.
Decorating the tree takes about three days. The first day Hubby and the kids help. They are good for about 30 minutes and then they lose interest and I continue working while they sit and watch. Not hard to understand when you consider that we have over 400 different ornaments that are put on the tree.
Day two I work alone, while they are all out of the house. My first task at this point is to move many of the ornaments that Hubby and the kids placed on the tree. The reason for this is that there are some ornaments that are designated for the best spots. These include ornaments from my great-grandmother, both my grandmothers, my parents, the kids, and Hubby. Day three is for putting on all the moving and light-up ornaments, putting on the tinsel, and the popcorn strings.
The tree is the first thing people see when they come into our home and by far the most popular. Every ornament has a story and I am more than willing to share it. I actually have a written history or all our ornaments going back to 1981 when I received my very first ornament from my parents for my hope chest.
Our family tree holds more memories than all the decorations in the entire house combined. Every ornament holds a special place in my heart, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.