So we went with idea three: silver metallic spray paint. (We taped the bulbs so they wouldn't be painted, in case they get too hot and burst into flames or something.) The result is awesome. Just one small problem: it's been 3 days and the paint is still sticky. Hmmm. It's perfectly dry on the plug and lightbulb sockets. But the cord is still tacky to the touch. Why??? Maybe by mid-January it will be dry enough to pack up and store for next year, if it hasn't glued itself to the tree permanently by then. But hey, the lights look great and you can't see the cord at all!
Here's a bad photo for you. The tree is about six feet tall and rather skinny. It's like me in high school. I had silver metal braces, too.
Update: The paint was still tacky when we packed up the lights for storage in January. When we took them out again in December one year later, the paint was finally dry. Also, thanks for considering my safety, friends. I'm pleased to report that after using the lights on the tree for three years, we have not been electrocuted.
You have read this article christmas with the title It seemed like a good idea. You can bookmark this page URL http://jenkrebs.blogspot.com/2008/12/it-seemed-like-good-idea.html. Thanks!