What happens to Christmas lights in the attic? Matt's Memo

As soon as the turkey leftovers are digested it's time to start dragging the Christmas decorations from the attic. The red plastic bins are filled with ornaments, boxes and strands of lights. The bins provide impenetrable protection for the ornaments, but there is something mysterious that happens with the lights. They go into the bins in working order. They come out....

They come out in one of several conditions of decay. Sure, some still work. But, why don't they all work just as they did when they were put away? I used the cover of the garage to wade through the tangled mess I wove last January.

The snaking green plastic seemed organized at the time. Less so with the passing of three more seasons. Before wrapping our front door garland or a couple of evergreen bushes with lights I begin to test. Inevitably three or four strands are only half paying attention. I stretch my technical repair capabilities by shaking the non-working section. Sometimes that technique leads to the bulbs suddenly turning on. Other times...nothing at all happens.

They give you those baggies with two or three replacements bulbs and a new fuse. Why bother? There seems to be no way of knowing which single bulb is causing the problem. Replacing the fuse in the end of the cord yields nothing.

I know in my heart that half working strand has seen its last day as a decorative piece. Somehow I struggle to break my connection with it. It shows no loyalty in return.

Two or three days later I will toss it in the garbage bag just before bringing the trash to the curb. That will show the rest of the lights who's boss! Then maybe next year they will know... either they all work together or everybody is out.

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