The Wide Angle: Just how much do we like Christmas lights?

Published 5:48 pm Friday, November 25, 2022

Can we for a moment, early on this piece, establish that nobody likes Christmas lights?

Oh sure, they are attractive and can set the tone for the season. I don’t think anybody can really deny that, unless it’s that one house that just puts as many lights in as many various places as possible — some blinking, some different colors, others just not working.

But just because it sets the mood, doesn’t mean we actually like Christmas lights. I kind of view it as one of the necessities of this time of year, but then again many view lutefisk as a necessity during this time of year and I’m of the theory nobody likes that either.

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Yes, I know people travel vast distances for lutefisk and “claim” they like it, but I think it’s because of the rich Scandinavian heritage that guilts them into liking the fish. Nobody in their right mind thinks that any amount of butter can save that dish.

I’ve been able to avoid it over the years on a technicality. I’m only half Scandinavian and if you don’t think I’m going to milk that technicality for all it’s worth, then you don’t know me very well Reader No. 34 … what’s your name again?

Anyway, back to my original point. Nobody likes Christmas lights. They are never NOT a pain to put up. I’ve had better luck folding a fitted sheet than I’ve had making sure Christmas lights are in a suitable state to unfurl the next year.

And there is no limit to the amount of hate I hold for fitted sheets.

Then there is the hoisting of ladders, the mounting of attachments and hooks and the extensive and highly technical plan required to ensure that all of the proper ends meet at the appropriate place for plugging in.

And once plugged in, you sit back and watch your power bill light up after you secretly challenge yourself with the thought of, “I wonder how many strings I CAN actually get on the house?”

And these are just the straight strings of lights that create tangles so unusually and impossibly woven as to defy any sort of logic or science known to man, even after spending an exuberant amount of time neatly coiling them in order to avoid such an abomination of tangling.

I haven’t even touched on the abhorrent and maddening net lights that are supposed to go over bushes or the dangling icicle lighting that were the latest bane of my existence.

A number of years ago we tried net lighting for our bushes out front and you know what happened? Well, I’ll tell you since you asked — we now have one bush where once there were four. I told myself when I pulled them out that we wanted a cleaner look out front and wanted to try something different.

But I think I need to realize that it was because of the net lighting and that if I took out the bushes then I remove the temptation to try something so incredibly stupid once again.

The net lighting often acted like actual nets, trapping and entwining me like some unfortunate gladiator of ancient Rome waiting for the inevitable thumbs up that would end my miserable attempts at Christmas goodwill.

And yes, it was thumbs up, not thumbs down that decided your gladiatorial fate and that’s your one unasked for history nugget for the day.

The icicle lights were a brand new chapter in my yearly fight for festivity. Opening the box and pulling out the lights told me exactly what to expect — long, unimpeded strings of expletives easily audible to our neighbors.

Throughout the afternoon on a bright and sunny November day I struggled and swore my way to light installation, all the while defending my ire to the more rational side of myself that wished for calm and patience as if “myself” even knew who I was.

And this is all without thinking to make sure they actually work. They did, but can you imagine what happens if they didn’t?

Merry #$^@#$^@#$^ $#%@#$%@# Christmas. That’s what.