December 19, 2023 at 12:05 a.m.
Guest Columnist

Elvis The Pink Christmas Tree Lit At Last

After essentially five tries


TAMMY WILSON | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment
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A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you that my Christmas tree would be an artificial pink one I call “Elvis”.

My son asked to borrow my green artificial tree. I was OK with this because I had Elvis on standby.

I know it’s weird to name a Christmas tree, but this one begged to be honored. The pink foliage reminded me of when I was five or six, when Americans pushed the limit past white flocked and silver aluminum trees. Pink Christmas trees picked up where 1950s kitchens left off. The flamingo hue is reminiscent of Presley’s pink Cadillac and pink sports coats. I could imagine him using such a tree at Graceland, or maybe Palm Springs.

My six-foot pink tree hadn’t seen the light of day in at least a decade. I bought it on a lark at Big Lots back around 2008 and used it maybe three times.

Right after Thanksgiving, I lugged Elvis down from the attic to discover that the lights no longer worked.

If you’ve ever owned a pre-lit anything, you may know that pre-lit is almost not lit.  Use them once or twice and they’re kaput.

Frustrated, I dismantled the tree, folded it up and tossed it head-first into the trash bin. I’d have to come up with another plan or just skip the tree business altogether.

A few hours later, I reconsidered. Maybe I could manually string lights on this tree. Sure! That sounded simple enough.

For those of you who haven’t ever unstrung a pre-lit tree or wreath or garland, be forewarned. Removing the wire and lights isn’t easy. It took two of us the better part of 45 minutes to untwist and cut the wire off the branches into short segments without damaging the plastic needles.  

I considered using a string of clear mini lights I already own, then reconsidered. Green

wire on a pink tree sticks out like a sore thumb.

I knew that chances were slim that pink mini lights on pink wire could be easily found in a store. My best bet would be to go online, and as luck would have it, Amazon had just the thing! A few days later, when the lights arrived, I eagerly opened them up to learn that they looked horrible. The lights were magenta; my tree was salmon pink.

Time to go shopping again, only this time for clear mini lights,

Walmart’s website had some available with pink wire. Perfect! My problem would be solved when they arrived Dec. 11.

A flurry of Walmart text messages began on the 9th, assuring me that my order would arrive, when to expect it, and when it was out for delivery. On the 11th, there were more announcements that the package was on its way! Look for it, the message said. They’d turned this into a guessing game. I should check the front porch, in the bushes, at my garage, around back. But there was no package to be found.

I studied the messages a bit further. My order had been delivered not to Newton but Newland, up near Grandfather Mountain. I searched online. Newland has no street address that matches mine, though the zip code is close:  28657 rather than 28658.

As the Christmas clock continued to tick, I again called Walmart. The agent was sorry about the mix-up, and assured me that a replacement would arrive by Thursday, the 14th.

A bit late, I thought, but I had already invested considerable time and effort. Besides, Elvis still wasn’t decorated.

I wasn’t very surprised when Thursday came and went without a package delivery. About 6 p.m., I again called Walmart’s 800 number. This time they claimed to know nothing about my replacement order except that it had involved a “marketplace” vendor, whatever that meant. Apparently, this outfit had sold Walmart—or me, rather--a bill of goods.

By now we were 10 days from Christmas.  which was encroaching on my own rule about Christmas decorating. First week in December is optimum; second week acceptable and third week, cutting it close.

After some hemming and hawing, we mutually agreed to cancel the order since it had, obviously, cancelled itself. If there were no lights to be had in Newton or Newland or anyplace else, then I’d have to make do. Walmart promised a refund.

Thursday evening, steaming over this fiasco, I drove into town for a meeting, only to be stopped by a roadblock ahead. Red, blue and white lights flashed a flurry of caution while an officer directed traffic through the intersection. I passed fire trucks, ambulances and a car minus its front end—a stark reminder that there are far worse things involving lights than not having any on a Christmas tree.  

 The truth was, I had allowed myself to get wrapped up in a trivial pursuit of holiday bling while others were experiencing disaster.  

On Friday, I was ready to use my old lights and pretend the green wire was pink. And then I went out to gather the mail. Wedged inside the mailbox was a carton with a return address from some nondescript place in New York. Inside was none other than the elusive Christmas lights! I called Walmart back to re-buy the lights I’d been refunded the day before. Some things you just can’t make up.

I am happy to report that what was essentially five tries, Elvis is now fully clothed with proper lights and ornaments.

Sharing this tale with a friend, I learned why pink lights may be hard to get this year. Thanks to the Barbie movie, pink Christmas trees are in. “Pinkmas,” they’re calling it.

So I’m trendy. Who knew?

---Tammy Wilson is a writer who lives new Newton.




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