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Why don't Christmas lights last?

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23 replies to this topic

#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Jack Spencer

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Posted December 04 2004 - 07:20 AM

It seems Christmas lights only last one or two seasons. Well I'm tired of it. Does anyone make decent Christmas lights these days? Something that will really last?

I like the fancy lights with the little microcontrollers that come in multiple colors and fade, chase, merge from one color to another, etc. But yet again half of my lights don't work this year due to the flimsy bulbs and wiring. I am very careful with storing and using them, I think they're just made too cheap. I'd buy nice ones but nobody seems to sell them.

What are your experiences?

#2 of 24 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted December 04 2004 - 08:58 AM

Miniature Christmas lights are so cheap as to be practically disposable these days.

Look for a known brand name (i.e. G.E.) for a higher quality construction than the store brand.

But they're all still probably made in China.
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#3 of 24 OFFLINE   John Watson

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Posted December 04 2004 - 10:31 AM

I don't want to dishearten you, but cheap crap is what we do on this planet. The consuming masses are too stupid to know or care or pay for quality. And we'll drown in the garbage.

Good luck trying to find nice lights. Perhaps the LED lights being sold now will last longer.

#4 of 24 OFFLINE   todbnla



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Posted December 05 2004 - 04:05 AM

Led Lights: here is my thought on this, YES the LEDS them selves may last longer but if the cheap ass wiring doesn't what good are the LEDS? Also, the led lights this year are nearly 50% more in cost than the el-cheapos. My suggestion, buy some of the normal lights, use them two seasons, then throw them out! You and Your families safety is more important than having to buy new lights every other year!

Or, do what we do...(outdoor)
We have stopped hanging lights on the house it self. After 15-20 years of climbing a ladder, it gets old. We just dress the doorway with a fancy light garland and place a few tasteful items in our front yard, make it clean an simple. It seems these days, where we live, everyone's house looks like their all trying to outdo the next guy, enough is enough, Is this really what the season is about? 10 million lights strung untastefully around? And those blow up things, one or two is ok, but 3 or more in the same yard? Posted Image
And before you think I am a scrooge, I just sold this on ebay...http://cgi.ebay.com/....e=STRK:MESO:IT

I luv to decorate for Christmas but it seems these days time is of the essence and I find plenty more things to do (Hometheater) and I am only in my 40's.

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#5 of 24 OFFLINE   Philip_G



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Posted December 05 2004 - 05:21 AM

Next year when I have a "real" house I'll go all out and decorate, decorating a townhouse just feels like a waste of time.

#6 of 24 OFFLINE   LanieParker


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Posted December 05 2004 - 06:01 AM

I'm amazed in this day and age that people still use tons of lighting and waste so much electricity. There was a house in Tucson that was in the paper a few years ago they discussed how there electric bill for the months of Novemeber, December and January were so high, but they had to keep decorating because it was a tradition.

They covered their house in lights, their lawn in lit statues and had motorized this and that. It was insane!

#7 of 24 OFFLINE   Jim Sentry

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Posted December 05 2004 - 10:53 AM

Oh Man get with it. It is the season to go out and enjoy and deocorate the hell out of your house

#8 of 24 OFFLINE   Jeff Ulmer

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Posted December 05 2004 - 11:54 AM

I use the big old bulbs my parents used. They seem to last for years. I put up lights the first year I moved into my old house, never changed a bulb for the thirteen years I lived there. Sure the color faded, but they only came down the year I moved. The new miniature stuff is crap. Buy it and chuck it when it fails. Not very green but...

#9 of 24 OFFLINE   Dome Vongvises

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Posted December 05 2004 - 01:32 PM

The family Christmas lights have been used since the 80's and are still going strong.

#10 of 24 OFFLINE   James L White

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Posted December 05 2004 - 01:53 PM

yeah I'v enver had a probelm wiith the lights going out, obviosuly a few need to be replaced Posted Image
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#11 of 24 OFFLINE   ZacharyTait



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Posted December 06 2004 - 04:42 AM

They won't last if you wind them up into a big ball a la Clark Griswold. Posted Image

Seriously, I think the name brands are better. All the stores advertise the el-cheapo crap. My dad bought Christmas light 30 years ago and they're still working. And no, I don't know what brand they are, most likely one that isn't manufactured anymore.

#12 of 24 OFFLINE   MarkHastings


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Posted December 06 2004 - 04:59 AM

They won't last if you wind them up into a big ball a la Clark Griswold.
I would assume that most of the damage comes from where they are being stored. Throwing them in a box in the garage all year, may be tough on the little buggers.

#13 of 24 OFFLINE   Erik.Ha


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Posted December 06 2004 - 05:11 AM

We use C7 (indoor) and C9 (outdoor) Christmas lights.

Some of my C7s are 30+ years old, but they still work, show no signs of fraying or wear. We do take care when we put them away every year to store them well.

I've only been decorating outdoors with the C9s for about 7 years now, and although they are exposed to more of the elements, I've yet to see any problems that would warrant tossing them. The bulbs have to be replaced more often, but that's to be expected when they are hit by wind and rain....
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#14 of 24 OFFLINE   chris_everett


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Posted December 06 2004 - 07:19 AM

I have the GE "commercial" "connect 6" sets. A ton of them. Because they have to have thick enough wire to carry all of that current, they are better constructed. I also have C7's around my roofline. They are rather old, and I have to replace some bulbs every year. (The blues and purples need to all be replaced because they are so faded) But the sets themselves are fine. I got all my mini-lights at wal-mart after christmas. I paid about $50 for two shopping carts full. If you want christmas lights to look good and classy, rather than just cheesy, put a lot of lights on things. I have 400 lights on a little 3'x3'x2' bush. My larger trees have 800 or 1000. I burn about 30 amps with it all on. (about 6 hours per day) Everything is switched on/off by a timer and an industrial relay. Probably costs me about $35.00 to run them from thanksgiving to Christmas.
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#15 of 24 OFFLINE   Jim Sentry

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Posted December 06 2004 - 08:07 AM

BTW when does everyone take their lights down. Mine are usually up until January 6th

#16 of 24 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted December 06 2004 - 08:25 AM

a 25' strand of multi-color mini's are $1.97 at target. 'nuff said. Posted Image

that being said, i've gone retro and put up the old school big-bulb lights on my exterior - just like the kind my parents had (which i think my sister still uses). i also have a pretty big plum tree in my front yard which i'm going to decorate in all white lights. i tried rope lights but it just doesn't work. Posted Image
Oh Man get with it. It is the season to go out and enjoy and deocorate the hell out of your house
Posted Image that's the whole point...to go out...have some fun...compete with the joneses.

my next door neighbor and i cracked each-other up this year. we both were out the day after turkey-day, trying to get lights up before the other. we literally looked out our garages, saw eachother, and started bustin' up.

#17 of 24 OFFLINE   MarkHastings


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Posted December 06 2004 - 08:35 AM

when does everyone take their lights down
I went for a record and never took down my lights from my kitchen window (from last year), so I just dusted them off and plugged 'em in. Posted Image

#18 of 24 OFFLINE   Jim Sentry

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Posted December 06 2004 - 08:47 AM


That reminds me of something I did when I was young single and foolish.

In my apartment I put up a real tree and after the holidays rather than take it down I just left it up. I took off all the decorations and I would vaccum the needles each week. I thought this was more efficient that taking it down and dragging it thru the hallway.

I think it was about March by the time it was bare and dry as a bone. Made quite a conversation piece for the some of the dates I had over.

Of course now I'm a different person. I'm no longer young and single.

#19 of 24 OFFLINE   Bry_DD


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Posted December 06 2004 - 03:46 PM

well, if you store them properly like put them in a box and folf them real good they'll last for a while.. been using the same lights for the last 5 years and no problems here..
Merry Christmas...

#20 of 24 OFFLINE   Ryan Wishton

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Posted December 06 2004 - 04:15 PM

It would be pretty, but I would have no interest in decorating the outside of a house. Besides, I have no interest in falling off a roof.

No one likes looking at Christmas lights still on someones house Easter weekend anyways.

As for the inside of the house. Think a mixture between the north pole, Vegas, & a tacky bar.

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