About 3 years ago, Brian and I purchased a pre-lit artificial Christmas tree. We decided on getting an artificial tree because we decided that we did not want to continue killing a tree every year to celebrate this holiday. The choice of a pre-lit tree was done for convenience. However, even with our extensive research to ensure that we got the best tree that we could (75-A Martha Stewart), it has turned out to be anything but convenient.
The first year we had the tree it worked beautifully until the a couple of days after Christmas when a single strand of lights on the very bottom when out. Since it was after Christmas and we were about to take it down we decided to deal with the lights when we put it up next year. It was not put up last year because of space constraints but when we put it up this year we discovered that nearly the entire bottom section was out along with a small portion of the middle section. For several days we made multiple attempts to repair the sections that were not lit. We even bought a Light Keeper Pro which helped us to repair several other stands of lights but would/could not fix any of those on the tree.
Eventually we started going bulb by bulb to find the problem. What we discovered was that in each section of lights that were about 99 lights that could be replace and a single bulb that could not. In ever strand that was out this 'keystone' bulb was blown and there was nothing that could be done to revive that strand. This type of planned obsolesence really pisses me off. So finally out of desperation I purchased several new strands of lights and strung them on the unlit portions of the tree and commenced with decorating. Over the 2 weeks leading to Christmas the the remaining strands on the bottom and middle sections failed and the day after Christmas the entire top section when out.
So utterly frustrated, today I proceeded to removed 600 lights the three sections of our tree. This task took the better part of 5 hours to complete and made the tips of my fingers raw from removing the clips that held each one of those 600 lights to the branches. We purchased some LED lights to string on it next year and hopefully we will have better luck with these.
My advice to anyone thinking about purchasing a pre-lit tree is...DON'T. Find a nice looking artificial tree, several good quality strings of lights and clips to hold the lights to the branches and hang the lights on each section independently so that you can pack it away with the lights on. So the first year you will have to do a little more work but hopefully the lights you put on will hold up better and you will have your pre-lit tree for many year hence.