What's it like to work as a Christmas tree light untangler?

Bags of patience and an unquenchable enthusiasm for Christmas are highly desirable

Daisy Wyatt@daisy_wyatt
Tuesday 29 December 2015 13:55
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Anya Mugridge has become the UK's first Christmas tree light untangler at Tesco Extra in Wrexham. The student was chosen from more than 100 applicants after untangling three metres of lights in under 90 seconds. The fact that she "loves Christmas to bits" also helped.

Mugridge says she has always had a lot of patience, and has yet to give up on a set of lights. "You can get frustrated, but I tend to think I'm not as bad as most people. It's quite therapeutic for me, to be honest, I like untangling all the knots and weaving it through." She hates mess and has the cleanest room of anyone she knows at Glyndwr University, where she is studying illustration.

Customers bring in up to 20 sets of lights a day, and Mugridge is paid £7.20 an hour to untangle them. She is given a minimum of 30 minutes per set, but the public don't always share her patience.

"I have had so many people saying: 'Faster, you've got to go faster.' They've read about me in the local paper and heard I've done it in under three minutes."

The 20-year-old has had a decade's experience of light untangling after always being made to do her family's set.

"My mum hates doing it. She'd rather put up the tree and all the pretty stuff. No matter what we did, it was always me untangling the lights, sat on the floor, listening to Christmas music, grumbling."

She has always loved Christmas, and believed in Santa until she was 12. "It has to remain a childhood thing. It drives my mum mad, but it has to be dark when I get up and open my presents on Christmas morning."

Even untangling lights all day next to a stereo blasting Christmas songs has not dampened her festive spirit. "If anything it's made it even more magical. I'm excited as I'm going to have a little bit of pocket money for Christmas presents to spoil all my family."

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