Perhaps while sitting in front of the fire with a hot cup of cocoa, perusing her Christmas decorating options, a woman named Gail emailed us with an important holiday query.
Can we ever! Up until reading this email from Gail, I had assumed that every human who celebrated Christmas, religiously or culturally, understood that using colored lights meant they were a heathen dropped on Planet Earth to test my patience. For the only true Christmas lights are found on a strand of white lights.
Even without a tree, white lights are entirely superior beast to their bastard cousin, the multicolored light strand. White lights give off a soft glow that demands the age-old mantra, "Everyone looks better in the dark," be updated to "Everyone looks better when lit by white Christmas lights." There is a reason college students, who are otherwise idiots about decor, use white light strands to decorate their barren dorm rooms: they set an automatic mood of peace and tranquility.
Not to mention, white lights are classy as fuck. They work with everything. They let your decorations shine. They look like snow. They look like ice. They look like candles. They look like Christmas.
I grew up in a household where white Christmas lights – which, I like I said, are the only Christmas lights – were treated with a degree of reverence normally reserved for a beloved figurine of the Baby Jesus inherited from a long-dead relative. To watch my mother (and her father before her) put lights on a Christmas tree is akin to watching a great sculptor like Bernini lovingly craft some of his greatest works. It takes hours upon hours. The lights must be carefully placed so there are no "holes." Even the lights on the back of the tree, which faces a wall that no one looks at and is generally where all the shitty ornaments go to die), must be evenly distributed. For this is the Most Holy Part of Christmas.
A few years ago, my family spent Christmas at my Aunt's house. She is a delightful woman with (usually) impeccable taste. But as the holiday loomed I grew concerned; I had a distant childhood memory of her tree and I knew it would be decorated with colored lights. And it was. Upon arriving, I mentioned to her that I wasn't sure I could go through with Christmas with her multicolored version of Christmas glowing at us all.
She thought I was joking. I wasn't. A piece of my heart was full-on Grinch that year. This year, we will return to my Aunt's house. I can already feel the harsh glow of the multicolored lights. The cacophony of color blinds me. And a piece of my heart will die, yet again.
A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Image via Shutterstock.