Friday, December 08, 2017

Bulbs in the socket but not all my lights are blinking


I've written in the past about my love/hate relationship with Christmas lights and decorating my house. Usually by the week after Thanksgiving I've unpacked crates of lights and headed up to my roof and undertaken the arduous task of clipping lights to the gutter and trying not to slip off the roof or electrocute myself.

This year I decided to only put up lights in places that didn't require going up on the roof. And the world did not end.

It's not that I don't enjoy the beauty of Christmas lights. But thinking about the labor required to put them along my gutters just made me depressed. I've invested hundreds of dollars in lights but there never seemed to be enough. And even if I tested them before I put them away for the year, it never failed that once they'd come out of storage, passed another test a section would inevitably fail once I'd attached them to the roof.

Then there was the complicated system of extension cords, timers and outside power outlets. And there are the blown breakers. I also have bags of spare bulbs I've accumulated over the years. Regardless of what the light manufacturers say, all of the other lights don't stay lit when one burns out and you have to test each bulb in a patch of lights that have gone out in order to find the bad one.

Even just putting lights on my deck railings and my shrubs and trees took a great deal of effort and a few trips to the store for more lights (despite all of the lights I own for the roof most of the sets had burned out sections and I just could deal with the mind numbing process of trying to find the bad bulbs).

But still we have enough lights out to stave off the neighborhood shaming for not decorating for Christmas.



To compensate for not going all out with lights on the house, I've turned my attention to my Elvis tree. If you are new to my blog, the Elvis tree is a white artificial tree from Walmart (the original one was from K-Mart). I only use blue lights on it and blue bulb ornaments. The rest is decorated with my Elvis ornament collection. Under the Elvis tree is a scale replica of Graceland decorated for Christmas just the way Graceland is. I think I've been decorating the Elvis tree for about 15 years.


I usually add one or two new Elvis ornaments a year to the collection. But this year I've kind of gone crazy on eBay (which has an inordinate number of Elvis ornaments available for sale). I'm trying to keep to the higher end Elvis ornaments produced by the Bradford Exchange (the company whose business model is to sell "collectible" limited editions of plates ornaments to people who can't afford them but think they are a good investment...trust me they aren't).

OK, let me clear the air here. I started collecting Elvis kitsch many years ago on a lark. There was a time that I thought there would eventually be some appreciation in their value. In addition to the Elvis ornaments (which are at least used once a year) I've got ticket stubs from concerts, his autograph on a postcard and autographs of his friends and family (including Lisa Maria, Priscilla and Colonel Tom Parker). I've got certified swatches of fabric from curtains from a ranch he owned at one time and swatches of fabric from sheets in his California rental house. I've got a crap load of Elvis decanter bottles. I think I even have some certified hair clippings.  Plus I've got tons of books about Elvis.

Bottom line is that other than maybe the Elvis autograph, I don't think any of it has increased in value. Believe it or not, people actually kind of look down on Elvis collectibles. Part of it is that the generation that was truly obsessed with Elvis is dying out. Oh, there was brief resurgence of popularity when the Internet was in its infancy, but I doubt if most Millennials or any of Generation Z (other than my children) know who Elvis is.

For now my kids enjoy decorating the Elvis tree. Who knows if they'll carry on the tradition when I'm gone. If they don't, I wish them luck selling all the ornaments on eBay.
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