Ah yes, Christmas lights! One of those holiday things that is supposed to be fun! I’ll admit that they are fun to look at, and I have experienced a feeling of satisfaction more than once upon completion of the annual Putting Up of The Christmas Lights. That in itself is misleading though, because a feeling of satisfaction can rightly come after completion of any task that you really don’t want to do (or dread even), so that is a pretty low bar! My thought there is – would it be more satisfying to dread putting up the lights and then finally vanquish them, or to relieve myself altogether of the responsibility and just not do it? Understanding that there is a cost – one choice leaves you with pretty lights in the tree outside and the other does not. Hmmmm – OK, it is getting deep in here! I’d better move on and leave the Christmas light philosophy to others, lest Mrs. Working Stiff accuse me of being negative about the holidays again!
In fact we did team up on a warm day about two weeks ago and conquer the outdoor lights. We ended up with a sparse but fun and somewhat weird display. During the process I tossed quite a few light strings into the trash bin. I think that my lifetime supply of patience for trying to figure out why a string of lights doesn’t work, or mostly doesn’t work is pretty much spent. For the past few holiday seasons I have found that I can go from “that’s odd, why aren’t they working?” to tossing them in the trash without a moment of hesitation. And it feels good! A very tiny battle won each time!
There is a tree in our side yard that narrowly escaped electrical adornment this year. It is a Blue Spruce that we had planted to replace a horrible older tree. It is about six feet tall and has a very pleasing Christmas tree shape. I located the bags with the old C9 light strings that we had used last year on this tree and found that none of the lights worked at all! I immediately engaged in some careful testing and investigation (for about ten seconds) and then tossed them into the trash bin. Because this tree is just right for a light display I made a mental note that maybe I would look for some new lights to put on it.
A few days later I was in our local Target perusing the confusing array of lights, which were all 30% off. (There is a bad joke lurking in there somewhere – I was considering lights at 30% off to replace the ones I had tossed that had been 100% off!) After considering several possibilities, I came close to buying a particular 200-light string that looked good for our tree. After reading the labeling on the box over and over though, I abandoned the idea and put them back on the shelf. The label said “Stays lit if one goes out”. I fully understand that was probably meant to indicate that the light set used a type of cabling such that the function of any good light would not be affected if any other light went bad. It probably didn’t really mean to indicate that it would stay lit if ONE goes out, but I wasn’t comfortable with that wording! Let me tell you – I’ve been down that road enough times Mr. Light-String Manufacturer! If I’m thinking about a 200-light string, I want to know that if 199 of them go out, that last #$!@%!!& light better be going strong! So the tree remains unlit, which is fine.
There is a new trend in holiday light displays this year that I see in use all over the neighborhood. The “Star Shower” or some similar name. I doubt it’s a real LASER but it is some sort of gizmo that you stick in your yard and it paints your house with lots of lighted dots, along with the car, the shed, the dog, and everything else in the area. Part of me thinks that this is a form of cheating. I mean, if you don’t spend time up on the wobbly ladder, don’t get poked in the face by limbs of the tree you are trying to decorate, and don’t do all the associated cursing – you shouldn’t get to have your house lit up! What’s next anyway? Why don’t we just pay a small annual fee to Comcast and have them use a satellite to beam green and red spots down on the house from space!
We bundled up and took a walk around the neighborhood, taking a few pictures for your enjoyment.
Happy Holidays from The Working Stiff