We've all been there. You spend an hour untangling the holiday lights you so carelessly threw in the box last year, only to find out they don't work, are broken, or only a couple of the bulbs actually work. This is where the Grinch comes out at my house. Grrrr.

But, thanks to the fine folks at USA Today, help is on the way before you get yourself on the "naughty" list. Columnist David Kenner has some pretty easy fixes for everyday Christmas light problems, and we've corraled a couple of them below, along with a video from the Tampa Tec. And I've thrown in some favorite fixes from my family as well.

  • One bulb is out, but the rest works: If they aren't hardwired in, just replace the bulb
  • Lights are tangled: My own tip for this is: as much as you don't want to when you're taking down your Christmas tree, get a cardboard roll (maybe from some empty wrapping paper) and neatly roll the lights over the cardboard. You'll be glad you did next year
  • Half the strand is out: Try working your way from top to bottom checking for loose bulbs. If one flickers, it needs to be replaced. You'll have to wiggle the following bulbs for flickering until you find the one that started the whole thing and replace it.
  • If the entire strand won't light up: Try different outlets, or possibly replace the fuse before ditching the lights and heading to the store - most boxed lights have a couple of extra fuses just for this purpose.
  • Honestly, when we pull out our lights every year, the first thing we do at my house is use a light tester. It saves so much time and frustration. And you can pretty much find one at any hardware store or Amazon. Definitely worth the money! Other than that, we stick to dollar store lights, because if they go out, you're not worried about all that cash flying out the door.

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