Wednesday, December 6, 2017

How to Fix Christmas Tree Lights

My husband does not celebrate Christmas, and when we first got together we agreed we would not have a Christmas tree. After years of discussion and deliberation, we came to a different compromise; we could get a tree as long as it did not cost more than $25 and we made it a "snowman tree." So this set me off with the task on how I was going to find a tree that would work.

I did not want to buy a real tree as I feel bad cutting down a tree and also, they would be more than $25. I began looking around at Goodwills and other thrift stores right after the holiday to see if any were donated. I found several and was going to buy one but found out that my work was throwing theirs away since the lights did not work.

I quickly stuffed it in the back of my Volvo and headed home. My first thought was, "oh I bet my dad can fix this up in a spiffy." When I called him, however, he was not as willing to help as I thought he would be. Apparently he has had years of practice battling lights that do not work and told me I would have to check bulb by bulb.

This was not the answer I was looking for so I quickly started researching other options. I landed upon the most amazing tool ever. It is called Light Keeper Pro, and it quickly solved my problem of having to check bulb by bulb. I first started off using the "quick fix trigger" which worked on some of the lights but not all. You put the outlet plug or one of the bulb sockets in the Light Keeper, then hit the trigger, and the lights come back on!

Once the strands that this worked for were on, I could easily see which lights needed to be changed and which were still okay. Now for the light strands that this did not work for. I used the voltage detector and started to find where it would pick up an electric circuit, then worked my way up the light strand to the point it lost detection. Once this happened, I pulled out the bulbs near this area, tested them using the bulb tester on the Light Keeper, and replaced any that were out.

Sometimes this would kick the whole light strand on, sometimes I had to keep going. When doing this, I used a green sharpie to mark the ones I had checked. This was my way of not having to go back and check bulbs I have already done.

To replace the bulbs, I went to the dollar store and got a cheap light strand that matched the color of lights on the tree. I would take the bulb out of the dollar store light strand, then put it in my tree's bulb holder. This worked for me as it was near impossible to find out the manufacturer of the tree, and replacement bulbs seemed more expensive than just buying a strand of lights.

At this point, I turned on a Christmas movie and started working away replacing any bulbs that needed fixing. Hopefully your tree will not take as long as mine; however, I do suggest picking a long movie as this part took some time. One thing I learned while doing this was to hold on to the bulb holder very carefully.  I dropped one and it immediately disappeared into the sea of green. It took some time to recover, and if you lose that part the whole strand will not turn on.

All in all, the project was a huge success as the tree was free, the Light Keeper was worth every penny, and now we have an amazing tree to look forward to every year.

What you need:

  • Light Keeper Pro

  • Green marker
  • Cheap light strand
  • Fanny pack or pocket for storing small parts, suggested but optional

  • Look for trees right after the Christmas holiday to see if people are getting rid of their old artificial tree
  • Careful with the small parts not to drop any while changing bulbs
  • Buy a Light Keeper Pro - it is worth it

How to fix Christmas Tree Lights


  1. nice tips, it will be so helpful in this month. since the need for a Christmas tree has increased this month, the probability of damaged christmas trees will also increase, and therefore we need thing like light keeper pro

    1. Good luck with your project! Light Keeper pros might go down in price too after the holidays if you are able to wait that long!

  2. I have a pre-lit tree with one branch of lights that stopped working. I simply turned that branch towards the back and ignored it for now but these tips are great for when I decide to tackle fixing it!

    1. My mom just told me she did that with her tree! That is definitely a quick and easy fix! Good luck when you decide to tackle fixing it :)

  3. We had two strands go out on our tree this year, I can't wait to use this next year to fix them!

  4. So beautiful lights! Thanks for great tips!

  5. That seems like a great gadget. I had so many light strands go out this year and it is so frustrating! Thanks for sharing

  6. Unfortunately this will not come handy any time soon :) But it was interesting to see, anyway. :)