LaughLines: Time to Light Up! Holiday Decorating 101

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White lights? Multi-colored? Single-color? The Great Holiday Décor Debate heats up in our house right after Thanksgiving.

Yup, we’re in for the usual knock-down, drag-out about this year’s holiday decorations.

I’ll soon be running down to the basement closets to check out the Christmas décor. Those lights, garlands and tinsel sure stir some wonderful memories. Okay, I admit some of the stuff doesn’t ring a jingle bell — it’s been a very long 11 months since I stuffed and stowed everything, so I might not remember that little fake tabletop tree or the snowman candle holder.

But forget about the unforgettable and the forgettable – it’s the lights that we fight about. Do we go multicolored for the wreath on the garage? What about the bushes out front? White or red or green or nothing? Anything in the windows? Should we string lights around the front door?

When I was a kid, it was simple: red lights, single candles, in every window. Period. We were heavy-duty Catholics, and my mom always thought there was something a little pagan about too much décor. It’s the birthday of baby Jesus, after all, not a Vegas opening. Red was even a little daring, but my dad was a colorful guy, so we did red.

The tree always had multicolored lights, with the big bulbs that got hot enough to singe a finger. That sucker lit up the parlor, and once the tree started to dry up, we were talking a major fire hazard.

In the late ‘60s, we did go “mod” – my mother’s term for anything she didn’t like – and Dad bought an aluminum tree with one of those color wheels. That lasted one year, and then it was exiled to the basement as “the kids’ tree.”

Through it all, the red lights glowed in the windows.

Now we face the Great Light Debate and I’m left to wonder whether to just pick what I want and string ‘em up (I do all the work anyway, right?). Perhaps the process of elimination? No purple. Reds, if any, must be red and not hot pink. One color? Two color? Or just toss them all up?

The answer to our light fight may be simple – one color wheel, coming right up. Like red? Just close your eyes a few seconds to avoid the blue, green, and yellow. Like red and green? Blink a few times.

Christmas go-go lights? I like it. It’s so….mod.

About Cate Drew

I’m on the high side of 40, with three dogs, two teens and one husband, living in a small New England town in a house that’s never quiet. Ever. It’s not that I have a really colorful life – I just tend to write colorfully about it. And there’s plenty of material: marriage to the Man of a Thousand Bad Ideas,.. my mom, who moved Dad’s coffin closer to the street six months after he died so she could visit his grave as a kind of drive-up window…our dog posse…our kids…lots of siblings and in-laws, former co-workers, old boyfriends -- they’re all here. Toss in 14 years of Catholic school and you’ve got a lot of guilt, too. Which reminds me: forget “high side of 40.” I’m 51, damnit.

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