I like the Christmas tree to be up and decorated by the end of Thanksgiving weekend. It's a lot of work to put out all the Christmas decorations, so I want to enjoy them for more than just a few days. So last weekend (which was Thanksgiving weekend) Kara hauled the tree out of our storage area and the children and she put the sections together and fluffed up the branches.
Then they plugged it in…and there was a small section of lights that were dead. After Kara and Matt and Mark and I all fiddled with it, we got it working. Our prestrung tree has a special light bulb every 25 (50?) bulbs or so. When this master bulb goes out, the entire section goes out. Changing the bulb requires pliers--and a voiding of the warranty! (Not that the tree is under warranty any longer.)
Then a large (not just a small) section of lights went out in the upper middle. Then it came back on. Then it went out. Then when it came back on again the large section below that area went out. Kara and I starting thinking about replacing the tree. We did some research and couldn't find a tree we loved at a price we liked, so Kara fiddled with the tree some more and she stabilized the lighting situation. We quickly put the decorations on!
PS If you look at the tree in the top photo you will see another small section of lights has gone out. We are definitely looking for a new tree next year!