National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation may be one of the most quotable holiday movies of all time, but the comedy becomes significantly less funny when you’re the one battling knots of cords and cables, wracking your brain as to why—why—those stinking lights won’t turn on. It can be frustrating enough to make you want to do away with putting up lights altogether, if only they weren’t so delightful. (And c’mon, who wants to be known as the Grinchy house on the block?) That’s why we turned to electricity company Mr. Electric and John DeCosmo, president of Ulta-Lit Tree Company, a brand that makes light-repairing gadgets and runs a hotline to help people troubleshoot any issues along the way.
Turns out, there are a few issues that come up again and again. Avoid these four mistakes, and the only time you’ll feel like the Griswolds this holiday season is if you accidentally leave the turkey in the oven for too long. (And if that’s the case, might we suggest trying one of these alternatives for Christmas dinner?)