i think one of the universal constants must be that every year when you pull out christmas lights for the tree, one or more sets of lights will refuse to work, forcing you to buy replacements.
on the other hand, maybe this is part of some master consumerist conspiracy. maybe, in inner circles, it is known that christmas lights are engineered to have no more than a 2 year shelf life. by keeping the time so short, it forces us to by replacements every few years, thus keeping the industry alive. hmmm....
at least replacements are en route. :-)
ps. i am definitely feeling more festive today. working on the tree and listening to christmas music all day may have something to do with that. hard to say!