Which left us with a lot of lights to put away! Some people just throw them in a big lump like this, but my daddy taught me to always wrap them up.
I started off with a scrap of leftover pallet wood from my most recent project, which I promise will be up soon (hint: it made my sister really, really happy). I picked the widest one I had, about five inches, and cut it about a foot long. This isn't really terrifically precise woodworking, but hey, it's going to be seen twice a year.
I set the fence on my table saw to be about 1/2" away from the blade, and made four 3" long notches in the board, one at each corner. Because the blade is round, the bottom of the cut will actually extend farther than the top of the cut, but again I wasn't worried too much about precision ... this will all get cleaned up with the jig saw anyways. If you're worried, raise the saw blade as high as it will go so that the portion of the blade doing the actual cutting is as close to vertical as possible.
Once my four kerfs were done, I took out the jig saw. I ran the blade into the saw cut (squaring up the end), and swung it around to cut out the entire middle section, leaving only the 1/2" wide, 3" long horns on each side.
Repeat for the other end of the board, and hey presto! You've got a recognizable thingiemajigger.
I did add one piece to make my life easier. I took two 3/4" roofing nails that I happen to have kicking around, and nailed them about 1" apart on one side of the board.
I liked that so much that I repeated it on the other side, too. These can be used to anchor the ends of the light cord so you can find it again.
Simple to do, and now our Christmas decorations are a teeny bit more organized. Plus I got to fiddle with a new tool, which is of course always good :) This will probably make it into my Christmas gifts for next year ... it takes a grand total of about five minutes!