Saturday, December 13, 2014


The whole town is lighting up in that festive way that says, "We have lots of lightbulbs!" And "It's Christmas!" And, "If you're at our tiny downtown, do your Christmas shopping at the barbershop! Or the pizza place! Or the cell phone place! Or one of 15 beauty salons!"

I say, bring it on. The more the merrier. I love Christmas, and I especially love Christmas lighting, coming as it does at a time of year when we get so little sun that adults are starting to get rickets. I'm definitely one to prefer lighting a single candle to cursing the darkness, although some do disagree.

Of course, there are challenges to dealing with Christmas lights, and I'm not even mentioning the horrible wiring problems or carelessness that causes house fires, injuries, or worse. (If you are decorating, do yourself a favor and check the Consumer Product Safety Commission's holiday decoration safety tips.) No, I'm just dealing with the impossibility of reusing lights from year to year. Fresh out of the box: Lovely, uniform, exciting.

Wrap them up as carefully as you like---come the day after Thanksgiving, they're the snarl from hell. (Pro tip for mad bombers: Using tangled Christmas lights for bomb wiring will completely prevent the hero from stopping the bomb with 007 seconds left; he'll never find the right cord to cut.)

Mrs. Key is of the opinion that the smart thing to do is throw out the old strings of lights after Christmas and buy new next year---or better yet, pick up some new ones immediately at post-Christmas sales. I missed the sales last year, though, so I saved the old ones. This year they were as snarled and tangled and mangled as the Affordable Care Act. But unlike the ACA, they did eventually get untangled and they actually worked.

And I do hate to throw out lights that still work. I come from a time where Christmas meant big, fat, hot bulbs with meaty wires that got used year in, year out, until they burned down the house. And we liked it that way!

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