pre-lit christmas tree review

by | Nov 9, 2021 | Holiday, Uncategorized, Winter | 52 comments

I just set up my pre-lit Christmas tree for the fifth Christmas and I figured I would share a review of my specific pre-lit Christmas tree as well as my thoughts about buying a pre-lit Christmas tree in the future.  This post isn’t sponsored, but the Christmas tree was originally a part of a sponsored post for Balsam Hill.  You can read the original post HERE.

The prelit Christmas tree I have is the 8′ Noble Fir by Balsam Hill.  It came pre-lit with incandescent bulbs.

balsam hill 8' noble fir | pre-lit christmas tree review | miss mustard seed

(These pictures are of my tree from 2020.)

To start this pre-lit Christmas tree review, let me state that I think expectations are generally unfairly high when it comes to prelit trees.  I can say this because my expectations were unreasonably high.  The tree can be well made, the lights can be high quality, and the design is perfect, but an incandescent bulb is still only going to burn for about 3000 hours.  Eventually, the bulbs will burn out.

In my case, the tree started losing light strands on the third year I set it up.  It was initially one or two strands that I would fiddle with, then eventually give up and fill in with a couple of strands of lights.  But last year, it was about half of the tree.  After the first two glorious years of just plopping the pieces in place to see them all light up, it was a bummer to have to take the time to mess with lights.  So, if your expectation is you will buy a prelit tree and never have to mess with lights, this pre-lit Christmas tree review will make that expectation a bit more reasonable.

As I said, the first two years are like magic.  Setting up the tree (lights included) takes about fifteen minutes.  It’s awesome and it spoils you for when the strings of lights inevitably burn out.  And, I also want to say that doesn’t (or shouldn’t) reflect poorly on Balsam Hill.  Their tree designs, directions for troubleshooting the lights, all of the extra bulbs & accessories, etc. that are included are so thoughtful and clever.  It’s just the nature of a string of lights no matter how awesome the tree.  I believe their LED lights will last much longer.

balsam hill 8' noble fir | pre-lit christmas tree review | miss mustard seed

Before I continue with the lights, let me share my review on this specific pre-lit Christmas tree.  I can’t say enough good things about the 8′ Noble Fir tree itself.  It is beautifully shaped, it looks so real, and it is easy to set up and takedown.  It is bulky to store, but that is going to be the case with most Christmas trees of this size.  It even photographs well, which isn’t going to be important for everyone, but it was an important factor for me and why I was hesitant to go back to artificial trees.  But after using a live one for several years, I was tired of the mess and having to take down a tree before I was completely ready.  I even had to get a new tree on December 23 one year because our live tree just couldn’t hang on any longer!  So, I love that I can put this one up when I want and leave it up until I’m ready to take it down.

8' noble fir balsam hill | pre-lit christmas tree review | miss mustard seed

When I set up the tree this year, I was hoping that some magic happened while it was in the bag and most of the lights would start working again.  Well, that obviously didn’t happen because elves don’t live in my guest room closet.  When I set up the tree this year only two strands of lights were working.  The bulbs on several strands were black, indicating that they have lived the extent of their life and would need to be replaced.  Several strands had voltage, but I couldn’t figure out the problem to get them working again.  I ended up just stringing lights over the majority of the tree.  I told Jeff to prepare himself to help me with the not-so-fun job of removing all of the pre-lit lights before we put the tree away this year.

balsam hill 8' noble fir | pre-lit christmas tree review | miss mustard seed

(This is the tree this year with the working pre-lit lights and four strands of added lights so far.)

I’m sure they can be fixed, but if you don’t like fiddling with Christmas lights when they are in a nice, neat strand along a flat surface, you’ll really not like fiddling with them in the tangle of tree branches and cords.  And I’m the “you” in this scenario.  I’m pretty mild-mannered and working on lights is the kind of task that gets my blood boiling.  So, we’re going to remove the lights and have it be a beautiful un-lit Christmas tree and use it for many years to come.

So, would I order a pre-lit tree again?  I had to really think about this one because the price difference between the lit and un-lit 8′ Noble Fir is $100.  Is it worth $100 to have lights that work easily and perfectly for 2-3 years? (And probably longer if you don’t have the lights on as much as we do.)  Maybe.  But, it is going to be a pain to remove them five years in.  It’s a bit of a wash as far as time goes, I think.  The $100 price difference shows that you’re paying for the quality of the tree, not the lights.  And, again, I can say that the quality of the tree is excellent.

After some internal debate with myself, I think I would order an unlit tree and just string on lights each year.  I like being able to test all of the strands ahead of time when I can lay them out neatly on the ground and easily work on them.  I can then throw away any that aren’t working or easily fixed.  I find that having lights intricately woven into each branch that no longer work to be a bit frustrating.

lightkeeper pro | pre-lit Christmas tree review | miss mustard seed

Speaking of testing lights, I bought a Light Keeper Pro a couple of years ago and it sounds like such a gimmicky as-seen-on-TV kind of product, but it really is awesome and works great.  I  was able to troubleshoot a couple of strings of lights easily before putting them on the tree.  I was hoping they would help get some of the pre-lit lights working, but I didn’t have luck in that department.  As I shared earlier, though, my patience is not extensive when dealing with Christmas lights.

I usually don’t put my tree up this early and Marshall came home and called it heresy, which made me laugh.  I have some Christmas freelance articles due and I needed to tree up for them.  And, honestly, I don’t mind this year.  I was sort of ready to start decorating for Christmas even if it’s early.  We’ll just enjoy the glow of the lights a little longer…

I’d love to hear some other opinions about pre-lit Christmas trees.  Let’s not turn this into a gripe-fest, but I’d like to hear constructive thoughts that might help people who are in the market for an artificial tree.  Are there any brands/trees you really love?  Any great customer service stories?  Is anyone a wizard with lights?  Any tips to share?


  1. Rita

    Last year I removed all the lights from my prelit tree, but I have had it for several years so it has held up well. Took me about an hour. I really like the tree and don’t plan to replace it anytime soon. When I do it will not be a prelit. Too many lighting options from year to year (even though I tend to stick to my white lights) so it just makes sense.

  2. Joanne B

    We have a 7 1/2 foot prelitvtree we got from Costco YEARS ( might be close to 10 if not more!) that is still working well! It might have been about $250. when we bought it. I think the same size tree (new and improved version I’ll give it that) is probably close to double that. Last year we had a light problem but hub sho has the patience of a saint figured it out- nothing more than needing a new fuse! NO ONE thinks of the fuse! I think I will get one of those light tester magic guns to have if we have any issues this year. To spend in excess of $700-$800 minimum and get 3 weeks of daily use for 2 years is insane. Would you buy yourself a new watch and throw it it after 2 years of daily use? You might but you’d be annoyed even if it was a $39.95 Timex, never mind an Apple i watch! Don’t get sucked into the Christmas hype of “getting what you pay for”. Once all your decorations and trim are up it’ll be the same ‘ole tree as your neighbors and neither one will look like the ones in a catalog or on a blog;they are in the business of selling Christmas. Christmas is, or should be, in your heart before it can decorate your home.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yeah, I think this is a good perspective. Our first artificial tree was one I bought on 90% clearance at an after-Christmas sale and it was pretty basic, but it worked. Since I use my tree for photoshoots (not just for the blog but for freelance writing articles, etc.), then it’s worth it for me to have one that is realistic and photographs well. Also one I can put up at odd times when I need to. I agree that $700-800+ might not be worth it for some people.

    • Dianne

      I got our tree at a thrift shop for $10 more than ten years ago. It is beautiful and so easy. Yes, I have to add a new string of lights now and then, but I just leave them on when I take it down. Before this tree, we always cut down a live tree from a tree farm with the kids. A great family tradition. Looking forward to decorating for Christmas this year as well. Always a little different.

  3. Janine

    I have surgically removed all of the lights from a pre-lit tree at work, and I vowed I’d never purchase one myself! So far, I still put up a real tree, but if I ever decide to go the artificial route, it will most definitely be unlit for me!

  4. Cheri

    As I was considering buying a Balsam Hill tree and garlands this week, I actually pondered the question of pre-lit or not. I landed on a solid no to pre-lit — I’ve done the light removal on a pre-lit tree and it is brutal. I’d rather do the lights myself — and Kirk agrees 🙂

  5. TAG

    I purchased a Balsam Hill Christmas tree about five years ago and chose unlit because I knew the lights would become a problem eventually. Their trees are a little pricey but beautiful and realistic looking. I didn’t want to make that kind of investment and become frustrated. I like the incandescent bulbs so I buy new strands every third year and use the old lights outside on the boxwoods. I miss having a real tree but I do enjoy leaving the tree up longer. Once you take away the mess of the real tree stringing the lights isn’t too bad.

  6. Rebecca McCabe

    Anyone that I know that had a pre-lit tree say “never again”! They’re fantastic the first year and if you’re lucky maybe a second year. After that it’s a nightmare. Removing the lights is very hard (killer on your hands) and a total joy robber. So, definitely not ever buying a pre-lit tree again. The (Possibly) two year window of lights is definitely not worth the time and pain of removal. 🥴

  7. Toni

    I had a 10′ led pre-lit tree from Costco and it has worked for nearly 10 years. I sent it to Goodwill this year, hopefully another family enjoys it for many years. We just don’t need a tree that big anymore. Your review is helpful – I don’t like the look of led lights on my tree…and would probably get an unlit one.

  8. Kathy

    Oh wow. I have been through this. It is so frustrating to have paid for the lighted tree and have them start dying so quickly. I removed them all and have to string them again each year. I do not like it, but it is lovely when it is done. 🙂

  9. Cassandra E

    I have a pre-lit tree, and fingers crossed it works this year! But, when I bought it, I had in mind the lights would not be forever. I did calculate that extra money was worth a couple years of not having to string lights. And, I hope that when the time comes that the lights do need replacing, that I can do a nice enough job that the new lights get packed away with the tree. (Can’t do that with a real tree.)
    I bought the tree the year my husband had a stem cell transplant, and we had to be really careful about being around people. I knew our Christmas tree lot adventures would be put on hold for a long time, (longer than even I expected) and when Covid hit, I was so happy to have my tree sorted.
    On another note, when the tree arrived, there was a broken bit, and though they send replacements with the tree I expressed to them I didn’t want to use my replacement before I’d even set the tree up at all. They kindly sent me two replacements in a very timely manner. This was Balsam Hill. I know things have been a bit rough with everything going on right now, there’s a lot out of their control. But for me, their service was top notch.

  10. Samantha

    I probably don’t leave my lights on as long as you do. We pretty much do an hour or so in the morning and a few hours at night and we have our tree up 3-4 weeks. So I find that my lights last a lot longer than 2-3 years. I think we keep a tree for 5-8 years and then we tend to donate it and buy a new pre-lit tree. But I’m not paying more than $200ish for them, so I don’t mind. We used to have an unlit tree and I would meticulously string the lights on it every year. Something that the branches or lights are made of would wreak havoc on my hands and I was fed up. So I’m a pre-lit girl through and through.

    • Lisa

      Yes! There is something about those branches or lights that is strange – I wear rubber gloves when I fluff our pre-lit tree and make sure I wash carefully after hanging the ornaments. Marian, your post is so helpful as we have been debating replacing our 15 year old pre-lit, purchased from a beloved Nursery decked out each Christmas (remember those days?!) on clearance and cheerily lit all day for years. Sadly a few strands went out last year and even my engineer hubby couldn’t figure out why. I guess “surgery” on the dead lights will be happening this November because I do still love the height and shape of our tree.

  11. Jo7nes

    Your kitties are falling down on the job! They should be under that tree supervising all your work and batting around all the cords. Surely you didn’t banish them!

  12. Kristin M

    I have also sworn not to get another pre-lit tree. I have a retail store and replacing the trees and de-lighting the trees is expensive and frustrating. About 3 Christmases ago I bought a lit tree from someone who was moving out of state for $40 and it is the best faux tree I have ever owned. I do not know how long the previous owner had the tree before I bought it but I really wish I knew who made this tree.

  13. Sharon

    Our first pre-lit tree died about 5 years ago. We bought another one from Hammacher Schlemmer. It was perfect for the first 4 years, but last year we had to replace some lights. We do that that magic light gun, and my husband worked until all was well. This tree was not cheap, and it obviously has had the typical light issue, but I will never go back to putting the lights on the tree myself. Plus, no one ever believes that this is not a live tree and they always have to go and touch the branches. It is a beauty!

  14. Susan Hogan McMillin

    We have a pre lit tree and my husband spends many hours finding the dead lights and using that gadget to fix them. This year we are getting a new tree and smaller and it is pre lit but I will add more lights, they never have enough for me.

  15. Sandy Hoppe

    Years ago we decided we did not want the headache of dealing with stringing lights on the tree and then replacing bulbs, etc etc. we discovered a wonderful place. In San Diego, there is a year round Christmas store called City Lights. They have an extensive collection of faux pre-lit trees by Barkana. We purchased one years ago with LED lights and if we have any issues we take it back and it is all covered under their warranty! What a Godsend! Problem solved. My opinion: Don’t settle for trees that don’t serve the purpose they were intended for.

  16. Rebecca DeGroodt

    This is all very helpful, thanks. We had one artificial tree for 23 years (!!!) No it wasn’t pre-lit, but my husband and daughter had gotten very good at doing the lights and honestly — it looked great, less so the last couple of years. Finally, last year when it seemed like there were about as many faux pine needles on the floor as on the tree (it felt like), we decided it was not worth putting back up in the attic. So what to do this year? My husband was waiting for the artificial trees to come in at Costco, but when they did, I just didn’t like the look of the ones they had. I was also wondering about whether or not to go pre-lit. This year we’re going to go with a live tree, which will be fun after such a looong time. If I decide to go back to an artificial tree next year, I will have all these comments in mind when making a decision.

  17. Beverlee Burks Lyons

    We bought a flocked pre-lit tree from Lowe’s for $200, 8 years ago. Still works. It is $300 now, but I would buy it again. It is beautiful and works. Yours is beautiful, you always do such a beautiful tree..

  18. Donna Thibodeau

    We have that gadget and I fixed our old $100 Kohl’s tree many times. We decided to downsize and bought a Balsam Hill. So far so good with the prelit. What we like is that it is light and we can carry it to the basement. We also bought the wreaths and the lights went out on one. For the money I think a bargain wreath is the way to go. The fuse is good in the wreath so I bought all new lights from Balsam Hill and hope to fix it. We have a set of four and would like them to match. The outside garland was very heavy and the lights went out so we donated it. I like the tree but I don’t think you get what you pay for. It was my husband that thought all would last a long time. It is seasonal so who cares unless you are doing a photo shoot.

  19. Brenda

    I have an unlit tree and I love it! I’ve probably had this tree for over 20 years. It was a Martha Stewart tree bought from K-mart. It is a huge monster of a tree, with a lot of branches. Mine is going to need to be replaced in the next year or so. It’s started to lose branches. So sad! 🙁 I usually like a white light but last year went to colored lights. It was a nice change! I really need a full tree because of my ornament obsession, I mean collection. Thanks for the review! Has anyone else bought a Balsam Hill tree and had it long term?

  20. Valeri

    We have a pre lit tree with a lot of non working lights. We string removable lights but never remove them. They store on the tree just fine. We also don’t remove the nonworking original lights. Our tree is loaded with ornaments and you would not be able to see nonworking lights if you tried.

  21. Julie | Home On The Hill

    I don’t have lights on our Christmas trees because I’m afraid the dogs will chew the cords etc, as well as it being fiddly, blown lights etc.

    When we built our new farm house I had room for a second tree & I bought a Balsam Hill one that is easy to assemble that I decorate in traditional colours in the Lounge Room, but I also wanted a skinny tall tree for the corner of the family room to decorate in pastels, but I couldn’t find one that year over here in Australia.

    So in the end I did a makeover on my old first Christmas tree that was about 20 years old – I converted it to a skinny tree & increased the height by placing it in an old copper washing tub I had – it worked great & didn’t cost me a cent!

    • Jessica

      Can you share more details about how you converted your large full tree into a skinny tree? I have a smaller living room so I need all the space I can get!

  22. Babs

    We have a wood stove so we cannot have a real tree but we had an artificial tree which we hung from the balcony. We wired lights on and also the decorations. At the end of the Christmas season my husband would take it down from the railing where it was secured and put it out in the barn…decorations, lights and all. We covered it with a sheet and hung it from the barn wall…all ready to go for the next year. We did this for about 5 seasons and it finally was too heavy to lift over the railing and secure with wire ties. We now use a flat masonite tree with lights that my in-laws had outside from the 50s. It does the trick and people get a kick out of it.

  23. Mayanna

    I have a pre-lit tree from Target which is in its 7th year. I had the same tree for 13 years before this one. The lights on the first one gave up the ghost in 2014. I added strings of lights and decided right there that I was buying another pre-lite in 2015. I need a tall skinny tree for my space, so these from Target are the perfect 7’ tree for me. Not as lush as your Balsam Hill, but after I add sprigs of matching Spruce in the air spaces, it looks full and thick. Probably costs less than the Balsam Hill tree too.

  24. Claire

    Thank you so much for this review. We recently moved a thousand miles and gave away our old Christmas tree and now need a new one. They are very expensive this year, all look the same, and of course come pre-lit or not. Then there is the fact that my husband doesn’t care what I pick and I have a hard time making decisions. I promised myself I would not think about Christmas trees today but then your article popped up. Everyone’s remarks about the lights makes me think I will not get a pre-lit tree. Thank you.

  25. Barbara H.

    I have that Lightkeeper, though probably an older version, and I did not find it helpful or easy to use to fix the lights. I’m glad others have had more success with it. I bought a beautiful pre-lit tree at Hobby Lobby several years ago at half price before Christmas so got a really good deal. You are right though – taking off non-working lights is a real chore. I don’t have a good spot and probably won’t put up the tree this year. If I do, I use added strands.

  26. Karen B.

    Gosh, the comments make me happy I have a prelit tree from Home Depot. This will be the 4th Christmas and it’s never had a light issue. My only complaint would be that I would like twice the amount of lights, but I’m too lazy to put on the extra strands, which is why I bought a prelit tree, to begin with.
    I love Balsam Hill but if they don’t have a LED-lit tree, I don’t think I would make the purchase.

  27. Sharon

    Great review. The Christmas tree has different meaning for different people. I love trees. It means a lot to me that it is a beautiful tree. I grew up thinking the beautiful evergreen tree was a representation of Christ’s everlasting life. So I’m okay having the nicest tree you are okay spending your money for. For me. Its not a huge amount. But it’s enough that I am very happy with my tree. Christ birth is the reason I celebrate Christmas. And I celebrate it with a beautiful tree.

  28. Karen Sabrsula - Long

    I wish it were easier to recycle the old lights. What a waste!

    • Ellen

      Where I live the parks system has bins at their visitor centers for recycling all of your unwanted or non working Christmas lights. Before throwing your lights in the trash you may want to google recycling lights in your town.

  29. Linda

    We purchased a 7 ft tree from Costco and after a couple years a few areas of the tree wouldn’t light. Called customer service and they said bring it in and gave us a gift card for the amount of purchase to use on another one or what ever else we wanted. We purchased another tree from Costco. Always great customer service.

  30. Kathy L

    since we have the perfect size tree, when the lights stopped working on my tree i sat and cut them all off, and now i just put new one one every year, Our tree is on from the time we put it up till the time we take it down, so ours is on a long time also.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yeah, we turn the lights on first thing in the morning, off if we leave, and then off at night. We enjoy the lights so much, so it’s worth it.

  31. Bev

    Cutting our own real tree at a Christmas tree farm was a family tradition for years. The first year we were empty nesters, my husband and I trudged though the snow together on a glorious winter morning in an effort to keep the tradition alive. We stood in front of a most perfect Frasier Fir, saw in hand, for what seemed like minutes, each of us arriving at the same conclusion. We didn’t have the heart to take the life of such a magnificent tree, and maybe it was time for a new tradition. We bought our first pre-lit faux Christmas tree that year and will never do THAT again! We now enjoy a lovely but not pre-lit artificial tree every season.

    • Nancy

      My son’s allergist said we should only have a fake tree and I was shocked I was going to have to join the artificial tree team.

      But I have never gone back to real. I put the tree up when I want to, leave the lights on 18 hours a day, take it down Jan 6, Three Kings Day. No real tree could survive all that.

      I buy unlit, they don’t have enough lights for me.

      I’m still not sure if I like LEDs for Christmas lights or not. Tiny white incandescent are my favorite.

  32. Peg

    I have a beautiful Balsam Hill tree that I purchased 3 years ago. I opted for “unlit” because I knew that I would not be gracious when the prestrung lights didn’t work. Plus, I wanted to be able to switch out lights if the spirit moved me.

  33. Meredith

    I have this exact tree. When it started giving me grief with the lights, I was extremely frustrated. I have a pre-lit tree that I paid $40 for at *least* 15 years ago and it still lights for me every year. Bulbs should be expected to die – not entire strings. I have your tree, my BIL and MIL each also have Balsam Hill trees. All of us have had to give up on the lights that came with the trees, all of us in the same time frame after purchasing the trees (which coincides with your timing). I disagree that it’s to be expected; between MIL and I, we have had about 5 pre-lit trees, and none of them failed the way the BH trees have. And after a look at reviews that are NOT on the BH site, this is a very common problem with these trees. I agree that the tree itself is so well made and beautiful looking, but our experience with the lights really soured me.

    Be warned… wear the gloves that came with your tree, get very comfortable and put your boys AND Jeff to work when it’s time to remove them. It took me, hubby, my 2 older kids and MIL about 6 hours to remove them all. And it’s a MESS.

    If you see another pre-lit tree in the future that you love, don’t allow your BH experience to make you hesitate. In my opinion, this isn’t a fair representation of how amazing they can be!

  34. Ramona

    My 7 1/2 ft pre-lit from Sam’s Club is the best money I’ve ever spent! 12 years and the 1,000 lights still burn. It’s beginning to shed so I’m going to donate or dump it. The tree is programmable to shine colored, white, blinking or not. My family and guests always complimented how beautiful it was. I’ve found trees hard to come by this year. If you have to order be sure and get a ship date. The associate at one store told me if you have to order from the manufacturer, you may not be guaranteed shipment at all. I detest stringing lights. Pre-lit is the only option for me.

  35. LJ Jasper

    We’ve been pondering a Balsam Hill tree for years and this is the year! We’ve never considered buying anything other than an unlit tree. (And no, I don’t enjoy stringing lights, but…) One only need to glance at Facebook Marketplace to see the number of trees being sold because a section of lights went out. We want a tree that will last for years to come if we’re going to purchase a premium artificial tree. In fact, Balsam Hill is now selling an “Unlit with simple string” option on some trees which is brilliant. Each section has an electrical outlet going up the “trunk” of the tree. You can string your own lights and leave them on each section when you pack it up. You’d just have to do a little light sprucing up each year to get the lights just like they were before. Sounds like a win/win to us.

  36. Karen in VA

    I had a beautiful pre lit tree for years, in three pieces. I believe I found it at Michael’s, never a blip. Eventually it became too much to haul from the storage unit, so I gave it to a friend. I had literally stumbled upon the Walmart pre lit trees, bought a darling 4’ pre lit for $25 … I’ve always loved a table top tree with presents underneath. It’s still ticking … fingers crossed for this year again.

    Loved this post.

  37. Christy K

    I’ve had the same experience with a Balsam Hill tree. Great tree, easy to assemble but lights didn’t last as long as anticipated. I’m with you on dealing with lights – they can make a saint curse!

  38. Joan P

    I personally love and have used pre-lit trees for years. Most of them have been very reliable. I am commenting due to the fact that last year we splurged royally on a BH tree and I was so disappointed. The “realistic” feature is actually only on about 8 inches of each branch and the interior is the basic artificial tree material. I could easily see the difference even when fully “fluffed” and was not impressed for the $1500 spent. The branch hinges were wobbly and began to sag even without ornaments. . The lights were ok but strung messy compared to my “big box” pre-lit trees. I expected a WOW and was very let down.

    Sadly it will remain in storage this year as I plan to pull back out my tried and true pre-lit trees from the past. I for one cannot endorse the BH trees for the price and will continue to use my older pre-lit trees every year for as long as I can.

  39. Addie

    I have not read ALL the comments…..but the ones I have, seem to complain about removing the non-working pre-lit tree lights. Yes, the lights will stop working…they can’t go on forever. When mine stopped and I wanted to remove ALL the pre ones, I just took scissors and cut them off. It took about 30-40 minutes for 8 foot tree.
    ***MAKE SURE THE TREE IS UNPLUGGED!!!….OR that will be the time they start working again!!!! They lasted for 5 years and I thought that was worth it. Now, I still have a lovely tree and just put my own lights on.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I’m just planning to cut them off.

  40. Sue in Northern Iowa

    Hahaha, Marian! I laughed so hard as you described your short fuse with Christmas lights! I, too, am a fairly patient person but tree lights make me crazy. I want them to be wrapped up and down every branch and I get a little obsessive about it, so if there are problems I become furious. No one should be around me when I’m putting lights on a tree! And I’m not sure I would ever buy a prelit tree because I’d be super annoyed when the lights stopped working.

  41. Lynnett Ratchford

    I prefer a faux tree for all the reasons already mentioned (longevity, allergies, less mess), but I’ve never wanted a pre-lit tree for the anticipated problems later. One thing on the subject of Christmas lighting, though is solar lights. I’ve been on the lookout for several years on the small LED bulbs on a string format powered by a solar cell and battery. Last year I found them at my local Ace hardware store. They were perfect on our board privacy fence.

    One thing about solar lights, as is the same with pre-lit Christmas trees, it all depends on the quality of the lights. My first string was from Walmart, was inexpensive and has been brilliant for years. A small string of solar lights from Lowe’s never worked from the get-go. Another string was fine for a short, very short time. These were all used in garden decor, not Christmas decorations. My advice is when you find a good product, stick with it, but also learn how to replace the battery. Those do wear out. Sometimes the battery needs a little jiggle to get it going again. It’s like a reboot, I guess.

    Family Dollar has sold a solar lantern for about the last six years each spring. I buy at least two every year at $5.00 each. I buy them knowing full well they will only last one season in our hot Texas sun, then the lantern will be repurposed into another decorative accent, usually without light. Of course if you use solar lights, you need sun. These options won’t work in the shade.

  42. Angela

    We buy a real tree because we don’t have enough storage for a fake one. However if I did buy a fake one it would definitely be unlit because of all that I have heard over the years. Funny thing is I have had my tree lights for at least 15 years and I have picked up some vintage ones over the years at estate sales that must be that old or older. So paying that kind of money for a pre-light tree and the lights don’t last is just strange. I try to embrace the decorating of my tree lights and all. Every year I change it up a little, some years only lights, some years lights and only anything cream and white that I own. This year it will be full on every decoration I have including tinsel. HOWEVER when it comes to taking it down, I remove all the balls etc….and then I toss the tree out the front door and roll the lights off as the tree rolls through the snow, there is no embracing the removal of the lights. lol

  43. Terry

    I didn’t read all the comments since I’m late to chime in BUT a different perspective out here in the fire prone west. There are now many more permits for us to go out and cut a live tree to thin these fire prone forests. What a concept. Of course, still have the light issue so LOVE the little gun to find the bad performer.

  44. Christie

    I’m with you, I hate dealing with Christmas lights.

    I bought a cheap $20 vintage style tree that was pre lit at a yard sale (cheap because the lights didn’t work). While unplugged, I just cut the lights off with scissors as there’s no way I have the patience to untangle them all. Now I just buy the wire battery fairy lights which are so much easier than normal Christmas lights. They take a very short time to put on or take off as they aren’t in long strands. Only downside is you have to switch each strand on/off individually.


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

Let's Connect


Subscribe today

and receive a FREE e-version of my planning sheets!

decorating, projects, and recipes for Summer

  • mexican lasagna bake aka burrito cake recipe
    I love recipes that are…quick to make, can be made in one pot, are easy to adjust to different food preferences, and are delicious!  Such is the case with this […]
  • the best strawberry rhubarb crisp
    We have an absolutely wonderful next-door neighbor.  She has blown snow out of our driveway when Jeff was unable to, she has saved Calvin’s bike from sitting out on the […]
  • decorating with shells
    As I collected shells at the beach this spring, the question I was asked most often is, “What do you do with them?”  And I get that question!  When we […]
  • Isle of Palms 2022
    I thought I would share a little bit more about our time at Isle of Palms this year.  If you’d like to read about our trip last year and the […]


Articles by Date


our sponsors



Bliss and Tell Branding Company


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This