Wow. This one is more of a paybacks--in a great, slobberingly grateful kind of way--to whoever it was who posted about this last year.
Stringing and unstringing the lights was enough to unhinge my husband, last year and every year we have been together. We would put off buying the tree and once it was purchased, it would usually sit, naked, on our porch while my husband glowered at it, just dreading the Ordeal of the Lights.
I got some of those light storage wheels (for way less than $50, let the record show) a few years ago at the dearly departed and sorely missed Organized Living, and that helped. But we were really to the point of just saying, let's buy the cheapie lights and throw them away with the tree every year. This from a woman who has trouble throwing away a grocery list and is a compulsive recycler. It was that bad.
But last year, when we had really put it off to the last minute (Christmas Eve at 4pm, anyone? Yes, church bells were ringing as we were pulling out of the lot). The kids were excited and so were we, but my husband's jaw was tighter and tighter...and then I remembered.
"Honey, I read online someone who said they strung their lights vertically and it made it much easier to get them off, at least."
Pause. Pause. And then, from my husband, "That might work. And it can't be worse. Let's try."
It took a little bit of fooling around to get the depth we wanted and to figure out how to secure them without gravity's assistance. But eventually it worked out, and with one minor exception of a little bunch of lights falling off at the bottom of one branch, it looked good--or at least remarkably similar to other years. The drop hadn't happened yet when this picture was taken. (And please note the sincere decorating of the tree, which was mostly accomplished by our then 4 and 2 year old sons. With a few "high branch" exceptions, we just put the hooks on the ornaments and they did the whole thing, giddy with excitement and enthusiasm as dusk settled on our porch on Christmas Eve. I will treasure that part of the memory forever, too.)
But the proof was in the pudding when the time came to take them down. I got all the ornaments off, then took the box to the basement as there was a threat of rain. (Which might have, you know, damaged the cardboard box we keep the unbreakable plastic ornaments in.) By the time I got back to the porch, he had all the lights off the tree. All of them. 10 strings. In the time it took to get to and from the basement of a split level. And he said, "We will never do this another way again."
So thank you, whoever you were. You truly saved us many unpleasant hours last Christmas and many in to the future. And if you need to string and unstring lights on your tree--think about it for this year!
So thank you, whoever you are who posted that. For more good ideas, go see Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer!