Sunday, December 12, 2010

White Lights and Timers

It's that time of year again when we throw caution to the wind. Christmas. Hannukkah. Kwanzaa. Druid Winter Solstice. So many traditions, so many decorations. It's the one time of year that beckons the inner ego within each of us to 'buy, buy, buy'... to impress upon those we love and those we tolerate that we're capable of out-doing, out-spending and out-loving everyone we know.

Nowhere is this more subtly evident that in the decorations adorning our homes. Call me old-school, old or tacky but memories of multi-colored, egg-shaped bulbs strung together by a lead-covered strand of wire scream 'Christmas!' to me. These were the lights that Snoopy adorned his doghouse with in the eternal holiday classic. These are the lights that the original druids used to light Stonehenge ... bright, lively, festive. Festive.... there's the key word I'm looking for.

Much like the earliest Druid children, in my childhood I would gaze upon the red, green, orange and blue glow of homes during the season of the winter solstice and marvel at the blend of colors. That blend of colors beckoned to me to appreciate something greater than myself and my 'need' for the new fuzzy-headed GI Joe figure. My parents would load me and my goofy sister in the car anytime after Thanksgiving and slowly the glow of the solstice would grow... all in shades of greens and reds and blues ... often twinkling ... little by little, the ride from my house to the local Eckerd Drug store would become more and more illuminated by the colors of the rainbow ... even the electric window candles were red, blue and green ... and the ocassional white.White... white isn't even a color, it's an absence of color.

By the way, shut up. Black isn't the absence of color, if that's what you're thinking. Black is the result of the mixture of ALL colors. Think upon that for a moment.

And then... something happened. Suddenly, Charlie Brown died and took his lights with him. The rainbow was quenched with the glow of tiny white lights. Nets of white lights draped trees and shrubs. It's as if there was a politically-incorrect decision was secretly made that eliminated color from home holiday decorations.

It has been suggested that there was a broken passage in the Dead Sea Scrolls that mentions that 'only lights of the brightest white are allowable when adorning one's abode..." Supposedly, there are clauses within mortgage agreements that stipulate that purchase of a home is contingent upon 'buyer's acceptance of HOA rules that 'Holiday' lights be acceptable (white) and in linear conformity to societal standards."

Basically, it's no fun to load the kids into the car and venture out to marvel at the tackiness or festive lights between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hell, you can't even load a party of drunks, a CD of Weird Al Christmas songs and Carrot Top into a car and feel festive while driving by house after house adorned with white lights and sterile spirit.

Hmmm ... 'sterile spirit' ... the decor of a home acts as a mask for the personality of the ones who decorate. "Will those who drive by consider us 'tacky' or 'cheap' if we don't look classy and neat?"

The dumbing-down and conformity of humanity can be seen this time of year... each time you see perfectly decorated homes and lawns strewn with LED white lights, shrub nets, wreaths on the grills of BMW's and minivans and those 'Look!, I'm in the spirit! Look at Me!' inflateable snowman snowglobes, you see the spirit of ego and not the spirit of the season ...


I like white lights. Pam and I have white lights on our tree. We also have a 15" (that's INCH) Charlie Brown tree with one ornament. That 15" tree represents who we are. The tree with the white lights has an entire strand of burned out lights. ... that also represents who we are. The best part for us is that none of this is on a timer ... we take down the tree with the white lights but the spirit of the Charlie Brown tree stays with us year-round. A rainbow of red, green, blue, orange and yes, a few white lights ... like Stonehenge.


  1. I like it!!! White lights can be beautiful, classy and boring all at the same time. But, if we have even just a little "child" left in us, the multi-colored lights are extra special. And, why do they charge more for a Charlie Brown tree that has fewer limbs, is short, and has only one ornament. I know a lot of people who would appreciate a Charlie Brown tree.
    Hang in there Jeff.....for Christmas you're on the right track (I think).

  2. I love this post, Jeff. I am one of the conformers who has all white lights in order to fit-in with the neighbors. However, there are a few houses sprinkled with color that I marvel at. Hopefully 'white' is a passing phase.

  3. LOL! Love it! You should drive by my house. We've got white lights, net lights, multi-colored lights, any old light you want! Half of them have burnt out, but we hang them, anyway! Heck, we're just keeping up with the guy across the street whose giant plastic nativity figures adorn his porch 12 months of the year, and his multi-colored bulbs have hung proudly from the eaves for at least the last 10 years we've lived here. No professional decorating crews in THIS neighborhood!

    (My husband's composing a song to go with this blog ... something about "the bruises on your wife look like sugar plums - have a red-neck Christmas" ... I'll keep you posted.)