I once read that you can learn a lot about a person by the way they handle three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve remembered it always, and thought this would be the perfect way to share a little more about myself with you. So, here’s the final installment– an inside look at my approach to tangled Christmas lights.
“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
PLUG THEM IN FIRST
It was an unfortunate day that I learned this the hard way. After unboxing what looked like a cat-mauled bundle of office Christmas lights to begin decorating the tree at work, I was calm and optimistic (the way I endeavor to approach any task). And I was proud to have stayed that way after four hours of untangling lights by way of what became a spiderweb of cords across the entire office lobby. It wasn’t until I was finished that I plugged them in and realized the entire wad was shot. I’ll never make that mistake again. Hopefully if you ever find yourself in the same situation, you can learn from me and you won’t either.
This brings me to my second point, which is simply this: there’s no reason not to stay calm. Tangled Christmas lights are either worth the effort to untangle, or they’re not. If they are, consider it a meditative exercise like a puzzle. If they’re not, donate them and go buy some new ones.
The only thing worse than untangling broken Christmas lights, is breaking Christmas light while you’re untangling them. Remember, a single broken bulb can spoil the entire sting.
GO WITH THE FLOW
Untangling a string of lights is similar to untangling jewelry, for better or worse. Sometimes, it helps to start at the end. Sometimes, you have to start in the middle. Most often, you have to go back and fourth. If it looks like you’re going to be at it for a while, light a candle, put on some background noise and pour yourself a glass of wine (or a martini, no judgement here).
THINK OF YOURSELF (YOUR FUTURE SELF)
The only thing that excites me more than decorating for the holidays, is un-decorating for the holidays. Come January 2nd, I’m ready to be done. But taking extra care in how I pack everything away, makes future-me much happier. I have two approaches to this when it comes to Christmas lights. The first, faster, simpler, lazier approach is to just leave the lights on the artificial tree. Done, and done. The second, more adult and organized method, is to wrap them up like a garden hose and tie each together with left over Christmas ribbon. A little extra work, but worth avoiding tangles.