I’ve had a faux Christmas Tree my entire life. Thanks to various family member’s allergies, real trees have always been a no go in my house. Fake Christmas trees have come a long way since the unlit tree I had growing up, but they can be very expensive. The worst is when you spend a small fortune on a gorgeous tree, and then 2 years later, none of the lights work. But this year, I have a strategy for how to fix your Christmas Tree fast so you can get back to enjoying your investment!
We got a beautiful new tree at a local Christmas store back in 2009. It was the prettiest tree I’d ever seen. 9′ tall with hundreds of warm white lights. A couple of years later, as I was setting up the tree for the season, half of the lights were out. I read all of the instructions with the tree, and I found out about the LightKeeper Pro. I’ve used it for the last 7 years, but this year, I finally figured out how to use it properly.
The LightKeeper Pro is a small plastic gun-style contraption that can fix your tree quickly. It can do everything from testing bulbs, to testing fuses, to even fixing sockets! This is a must have for any fake tree owner. It can take hours finding those blown bulbs, even when you have a tree that says it stays lit with burned out bulbs. On our tree, if 3 or more bulbs on the strand are blown, the whole thing goes out. This year, using my new strategy, I was able to get my 9′ tree set up and fully lit in less than 2 hours! Doug was shocked!
First, you need to gather your supplies. I light to keep a “light repair kit” in a clear box with my Christmas Decor. My favorite clear box for organizing is the Container Store Clear Shoe Box. I use it for way more than shoes. Inside my Light Repair Kit I have my LightKeeper Pro, Replacement Bulbs for my tree (check with the manufacturer), replacement bulbs for other decor in separate labeled ziploc bags, extra fuses, and a pair of needle nose pliers.
***When you buy an expensive fake Christmas Tree, make sure you keep your receipt. For our tree, the only place to get the replacement bulbs is the company that made the tree. Our tree had a 4 year warranty to get replacement bulbs free, but you had to have a receipt. Every year I order a bag of 100 replacement lights. It’s always a good idea to have these on hand in your repair kit.***
How to Use the LightKeeper Pro
As you set up your tree, install the first section in the stand, plug it in, and then figure out where the light strand starts. That’s the part you want to start fluffing first. Just the act of fluffing and shaping the tree can jiggle the shunts enough to make the strands pop on. Sometimes storage can shift the shunts in the light sockets, causing them to disconnect. Getting the strands to light is the key to finding the burned out bulbs, and this is an easy way to test the tree. I know, tell me something I don’t know. Just keep reading!
When you’ve fluffed and shaped the first section, if any of the light strands still don’t work, grab your Light Keeper Pro. You’ll need to find the very first light on the strand that isn’t working, so the one all the way to the left. On my tree, the company strung the lights from the back left of the section, up and around the front, and then back on the right, and on to the next branch.
Remove the light from the first socket. Take your Light Keeper Pro, and put the socket into the hole on the front-middle of the gun. After that, pull the trigger a few times. This fixes the shunts. The lights should start to flicker each time you pull the trigger, and then they should stay on as long as the Light Keeper is on the socket. That means your lights still work! Score!
Before you put that bulb back in the socket, stick it in the hole on the top of the gun. Make sure both of the little copper wires are touching the metal sides, and you might need to push down a bit for a good connection. If the bulb glows, that means its still good, and you can put it back in the socket. If the strand still won’t work, repeat the process with the second light.
Why It Works
Fixing the shunts will allow the lights to stay lit so you can find your burned out bulbs. Replace all of those, then move on to the next strand and repeat this process. Finish the bottom section of the tree, then repeat the steps with the second section.
My 9 foot tree has 4 sections, and I found that doing each section as I built the tree, it was easier for me to find the bad bulbs. For the last section, since its so small, its easy to plug into the wall and do this process on the ground.
Following this strategy saved me so much time! In years past, we would spend hours upon hours removing every light and testing it with a good bulb. Every. Single. Light. I think last year, setting up the tree took 2 days. We’ve had this gun for years, but the instructions aren’t that great, and I never quite figured it out until now. This methodic strategy is a keeper, and I’m shouting it from the rooftops!
Post Tree Set Up Treat!
Once you’re done fixing all of the bulbs and fluffing the branches of your tree, don’t forget to take care of your hands & nails. Your fingers and nails take a beating with this project. My favorite thing to do after fixing my tree is to give myself a manicure. I use my Julep manicure set and buffing blocks to properly shape my nails after a quick soak in warm soapy water. I then follow up with two coats of their Oxygen Nail Treatment, Fast Absorbing Cuticle Cream and their No Limits Luxe Hydrating Creme. Keeping my nails looking nice is my favorite way to feel put together, especially during the holidays!
Do you have a LightKeeper Pro? I don’t know why it took me 7 years to figure out how to use it. Doug could not believe that I set up the tree and got all of the lights to work in 2 hours. It’s so easy to fix your Christmas Tree fast so you can enjoy the season hassle-free!