An Addiction to Christmas Lights

Posted: December 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

The purveyor of the Small Ball Report is addicted to Christmas Lights.   Its not as strong as some of my other addictions like Taco Pizza or mowing my yard in alternating diagonal directions – sometimes 4 times in a day, but its close.   What started small 10 years ago has grown to over 50,000 lights twinkling in the December night on my acre size corner lot.   Actually, they don’t really twinkle; I haven’t gone so far as to do an automated light show.   I’m not that big of a geek, yet.  I am a big enough geek to know how many lights I have as it’s all in my Handy Deployment Spreadsheet and that is one of the first signs that you know you have an addiction is when you actually have a Handy Deployment Spreadsheet.  But, how else are you going to know how many lights you can plug into each outlet so that you are not blowing up the power grid.

Being on a corner lot makes it hard to intensify the lights in one area of the yard so I’m waiting until I get up to about 75,000 to 100,000 lights before I start breaking out the Mannheim Steamroller music.    My light strategy to this point is to put as many lights as I can in my 8 big trees, numerous evergreens and on the house.    One tree alone has over 5000 lights.   That tree has lights wrapped around every branch that I can reach without falling out of a tree or ladder and having to activate my Obamacare.   Did I mention Obamacare?  Here are my thoughts on that, click here.


I’d like to hire some well trained monkeys to climb even higher in the tree, but so far I haven’t found any monkeys that would help.   I know that Monkeys can ride bikes and juggle as I’ve been to a circus, but I am not sure if they would be able to wrap LED lights around my Linden Trees and I already have a handful of kids that keep the pantry cleaned out of bananas.   So there is that.

Included in my light inventory is over 30,000 environmentally friendly LEDs, older technology incandescent lights, and a cast of characters that include 2 Polar Bears, 2 Deer, 1 Horse & Sleigh, a rocking horse, a camel, a pig, a swan family, a penguin, a snowman, 3 dogs, 2 Eskimos, and numerous self made mini trees and candy canes of 3 different sizes.   I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this years new addition, a pair of Tinsel Soldier Moose that guard the front door.   Because nothing says its Christmas like a pair of Moose at the front door.

This season at no extra charge the Small Ball Report will be sharing my top recommendations for doing Christmas Lights.   Check back later for more handy tips, but here’s today’s entry:

Tip # 1:

After Christmas Shopping Frenzy

In the early years I would buy my lights before Christmas just to get the inventory up.  This year I haven’t even been to the store yet as over the past couple Christmas seasons I’ve shopped for lights on the day after Christmas for 50 percent off deals.   Wait until January 2nd for even deeper discounts.   The 2 aforementioned Moose were January purchases.

LEDs are way over priced so I would never buy them at full price.   After all, the same Chinese teenagers that make incandescent bulbs at the sweat factory also make LEDs on the next assembly line over, so there is a huge profit margin socked into them.   The best place to buy cheap LEDs is the dome style lights at Walgreens which sell for $5 a box in multi-color, $6 for solid reds, greens if you can find them and you won’t, blues and gasp – pink (this year I have a pink tree which I have dubbed the Breast Cancer Awareness Tree).   Since there is a Walgreens on every corner where I live, I usually hit at least a dozen different Walgreens the day after Christmas and clean out there inventories.

Finding cheap solid white LEDs is trickier, but then last year on January 2nd I stumbled onto a mother load.    Lowes had dozens of 100 count white LEDs at 75 percent off.   That they still had that many inventory should have gotten someone fired.   I bought 84 boxes – buying any more than that would have been obsessive, but don’t think I wasn’t pondering taking out a 401k loan to buy more than that.

Since LEDs are still largely overpriced, I haven’t completely phased out my old glacier melting white incandescent lights.   Partly I like to keep incandescents in my inventory because I just like to type the word incandescent really fast and see if I spell it correctly or get that red squiggly underline misspell fail – I get it right 68.7 percent of the time now.   Tangent over, I still have 9650 of them according to my Handy Deployment Spreadsheet.   Those will gradually be phased out as they breakdown, but some strands are at least 8 years old and are like dear old friends who I have shared wonderful memories with to me now.   And that will be part of a future tip – Splicing up the Season, coming soon.

For more half-truths and outright lies visit the Small Ball Report at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s