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  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
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My Mega Tree Set Up

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I have been putting up a mega tree for years. I have continued to improve the set up process. I started with connecting all my pipe, picking it up, and physically holding it upright as I screwed it into the base. My trees have always been over 20’ so this was very labor intensive. My pivoting base made it so I could keep my pole on its side, connect it and then just stand it up. Raising the lights was the next hurtle to improve. I started with simply running he lights up and over a crewed topper and when I stood the pole up, I would straighten them out. I made my “truck” that I use to haul my lights up about 6 years ago and started with using rope and pulleys connected under my star. I improved my topped the next year by fabricating it out of ½ steel plating and using wire cables and a winch to haul up the lights. So, getting the light raised up had become easy. The problem was the hours of labor involved in connecting the lights to the “truck” and then putting them away after the season was done.

I had been thinking of this for a while and came up with an idea. I divided my tree into four ten foot wedges. I laid out a sheet of clear plastic sheeting that was 10’x25’. I put a 10’ piece of 1” electrical conduit at one end and then used a small piece of PEX tubing on the top. With the help of my Dad, I laid out each strand of lights and connected them at each end with zip ties. I made sure my spacing on the electrical conduit was what I wanted and then we just rolled it up. The plastic kept the lights from getting tangled together.

When I had my pole and base ring set up in the yard, I carried the plastic covered lights out. I had planned on making stands to hold the lights, but I ran out of time. I just set them on the ground in the position they were going to be attached to the tree. I connected the PEX tubing to my “truck” and started cranking. I was amazed that it actually worked and all the lights unrolled with no tangling. I connected the electrical conduit that the lights were reconnected to, to the base ring, and we were done. It took us less than an hour.

I wanted to take the lights down in a similar fashion. I got four 10’x1” and 10’x2” PVC pipes and caps for all the ends. I drilled holes in the center of the caps, put bolts through and tightened them, then glued them onto the pipes. I rolled the plastic we used before onto the 1” pipe. Then made stands that held the pipes with the plastic covered one on the bottom.

My Dad and I carried them out to the tree and lined them up with the light wedges on the tree. I disconnected the light wedge from the trees base ring and connected it to the 2” PVC. Using clear packing tape, we attached the plastic sheeting onto the top 2” pipe. While I lowered the lights my dad rolled the lights up and the plastic unrolled from the bottom pipe and covered the lights as we went. I took us about an hour to get the entire thing done.

This was such a fast set up. In the past, my Dad and I would connect each strand of lights to the tree by hand and have them stretched out in the yard until the truck was raised. It would take a full 8 hour day. When it was time to take down, I would lower the truck and try to keep the lights spread out, drag them in the garage, and start untangling them. I would spend at least a couple days doing that loosing at least a dozen strands each time.

Storing the lights on these 10’ long rolls was my last challenge. I put them on the ceiling of my garage using eye bolts and bungee cords. It was easy to put up and is totally out of my way.


















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Gotta hand it to you....thats pretty cool! Last year was my first bigger tree...22 feet, and I experienced the tangled mess of which you speak! I may just have to take a page from your playbook! Thanks for sharing!

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Excellent system. I plan on using it this year.Thanks.

Question for you in regards to the tree topper: What is the red tube and red bracket used for? Thanks again!

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The red tube is PEX that I connected all the lights to. Then I zip tied it to my "truck". The other red stuff is is my winch. Here is my topper I made. It's cut from 1/2 in thick steel. I made the guy wire attachments so long, so my "truck" fits between the guy wires without touching them.




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The red tube is PEX that I connected all the lights to. Then I zip tied it to my "truck". The other red stuff is is my winch. Here is my topper I made. It's cut from 1/2 in thick steel. I made the guy wire attachments so long, so my "truck" fits between the guy wires without touching them.

Nice work! Thanks.

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