Pass The Duct Tape (XMAS Tree Mishaps)

fixed-it-grillHow hard is it to purchase and put up a Christmas tree? For some inexplicable reason, our family seems to be tree-challenged.

We’ve had a few years of looping rope over the car to secure the tree on the roof. Only to discover that, while the tree was secure, we had inadvertently tied the car doors shut. (two times).

There are the times we had to stick our arm out the window and maintain a death grip on the Christmas tree to prevent it from slipping off, despite being tied to the roof (only fell off into the road one time).

We then learned to keep the rope from these trips home and use it to tie the tree up to some type of furniture to prevent the tree from leaning and tipping over (too many times to count).

You would think now, with an artificial tree, our days of XMAS tree mishaps would be over. But this year, we can’t get figure out how to plug together the string of lights on our pre-lit tree. In our defense, there are A LOT of plugs, but we’ve managed to figure it out in years past. Each of us has spent at least 20 minutes plugging different iterations of plugs together to find that magic combination that will make the whole tree light up (like a Christmas tree, natch).

I share these stories not to spotlight our family’s mechanical incompetence, but to explain why this site, passed along by Wise Woman Laurie, struck such a chord with me: There, I Fixed It. Each day, photos are posted celebrating “mankind’s eternal struggle to hammer square pegs into round holes (with duct tape.)” Obviously, the shopping cart/grill combo above was a stroke of brilliance. Check out these other ingenious examples below.

And, if anyone has any tips for our Christmas tree, I’m all ears. (Plan B is to hang regular lights leftover from years past on the allegedly pre-lit tree.)



  • Catherine Says:
    12-10-2009 09:43:34

    Thanks for the note of humor in this sometimes stressful season. I recently read that placing stones in your Christmas tree stand will keep the tree from toppeling over. And thanks for illustrating a new use for a rake.

  • Barb Says:
    12-10-2009 10:46:08

    Love the pic of the rake and hotdogs! I’m going to try that next summer with marshmallows for a crowd.

    We have our own handwritten instructions inside the artificial Christmas tree box. “Tinsel first, then lights, three strings of lights, etc.” Putting together the tree is easy, but every year we had a big discussion about tinsel or lights first. Now we see the note when we open the box and can skip the discussion.

    When I pack up all the Christmas decorations, I label what goes in which box — so I know how to fit the “jigsaw” puzzle back together after Christmas. When we’re moving we do this with things like computers, television/DVD connections etc. Then the map for reconnecting is in the box when we open it.

    Making a light map might help for next year, but not sure how to help with your tree problem this year though? Maybe a color-coded label on each string, then make a written record of which combinations in which order you’ve tried? Failing that, maybe there’s a manufacturer’s website? Or you could google “tree manufacturer; how to connect lights” and see if there’s a cyber discussion out there — it’s likely others have had the same problem!

    Good luck and Merry Christmas!

  • Cindy H Says:
    12-14-2009 20:08:38

    The pictures remind me of the old TV show, “Home Improvement.” Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor would often have quirky ideas like that. Remember the one about enjoying a freshly grilled cheese sandwich at a construction site by using a blow torch? :)

    I’m lucky I’m married to an electrical engineer who handles all of our Christmas lighting needs. I’m quite happy to leave the lighting to him while I handle the Christmas cards.

    Anyway, thanks for such an interesting post.

    (Hope you have better luck in the future with your Christmas trees strapped/tied to the roof of your car!)

  • Marilyn Says:
    6-26-2015 22:34:15

    Brittany – Oh my gosh! where were you when i was 11?? its a georgous room, i love your slilhtgy woodsy spin on everything you do, its so unique and wonderfully put together. i love love love it!!! i’m trying to pick something that is my favorite but its hard to do! the houndstooth pillow is fantastic, and the sweet little birds on her chair are so whimsical! if i ever get a little girl, this room will definately be a huge source of inspiration!! thank you SOO much for sharing, you are just amazingly talented!!December 10, 2012 8:43 pm

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