Lighting a Christmas Tree 2018


Deck the halls with the results of my Christmas tree model! And learn how live trees fail to behave as cones! Wow!


December 25, 2018

Figure 1
I applied my work from last year to the 2018 Christmas Tree and am pretty happy with the results. The tree in Figure 1 was the final product. At the After-Christmas sales last year I got some red, white, and green ornaments with the goal of doing a tri-color tree this year. My hope was to make nice balanced bands but things didn’t quite turn out like I had hoped. I mean, they still turned out good-ish but not quite up to my hopes.


Lessons From 2018

Figure 2
  • Different color lights do not appear equally bright. I noticed the white lights seemed much brighter than the red, and the red much brighter than the green. I ended up making the white band with two strands, the red with three, and the green with four.
  • Real trees are lumpy and limp. My tree had a bald spot and some weird branch spacing that made placing the precisely calculated strands into a very “approximate” undertaking. Also, the branches began to sag under the weight of the lights and ornaments. An animated gif of the tree as I put lights on it shows what I mean. Look at the lower right side - it travels almost a foot under the weight of the lights.
  • Silver ornaments look like a hole in your Christmas tree. I began with some silver ornaments as well but removed them because they looked like a big hole in the tree.
  • At some point you get tired of measuring and just eye-ball it. That happened sort of quick for me, and the result was that the green sections are a little wider, but again, overall, I’m happy with how it turned out.

Christmas just flew by this year, and Target started their sale the week before Christmas so I missed out of the sweet deals that would have made next Christmas a calculus problem as well. Unless Target wants to be my corporate sponsor? I mean, what says “Christmas” more than path integrals? Answer: nothing, except maybe like peace and good-will towards your fellow man, but definitely also path integrals.

Happy 2019!