Who knew that people were so adamant about lights? I mean, I know I’m oddly particular about things and also frustratingly stubborn, so it’s not that surprising that I’m hooked on my tradition, but it seems that everyone has a stance on this subject. A Facebook post asking for opinions ended up with a smattering of exclamation points and general disbelief that someone would even consider opting for the other alternative.
I, personally, opt for colored lights. I love the kitschiness of them. And I’m talking, the big bulbous colored lights. I have no love for the smaller ones. I love the eightiness of the huge ones (fittingly, this was the time period in which I spent Christmas Eves trying to catch a glimpse of Santa). And while the white lights are beautiful and I can appreciate why people would lean in that direction, something about the colored lights keeps me coming back year after year.
White lights are too perfect. Too clean.
Nothing about white lights reminds me of the actuality that is family. Or at least my family. They just don’t go with my father’s annual frustration with wrapping presents. My mother in the kitchen, covered in flour, begging us or one of us to come help and frost the cookies. My uncle, a few beers in, trying to assemble the surprisingly intricate pink Barbie car for my niece. White lights don’t mesh with fleece footie pajamas and morning breath and uncombed hair sometimes sticking straight in the air while hands too fast for the mortal eye to see break into presents.
But colored lights, especially lights where the bulbs have been replaced and so there might be two orange ones right next to each other, remind me of the intimacy of Christmas morning. Of sitting on the balcony, clutching the rails and waiting for my parents to wake up so we can start in insanity.
And maybe the families with the white lights are cringing at my description of our holiday … and maybe that’s where the divide is, where the misunderstanding stems from.
But I imagine that everyone would have a hard time switching to the other, and I also find it hard to believe that people would expect themselves to be so attached to their tradition. It kind of sneaks up on you.
So, who knows. Two trees? Do we alternate every other year? Has anyone else come up against this one?