font-family: 'Engagement', cursive;

Monday, December 12, 2011

In Praise of the Incandescent Bulb

A house in Eugene's South Hills, decked out with
thousands of twinkly lights.
One of our family's favorite holiday traditions is looking at Christmas lights or, as my now 21 year old daughter used to call them, "Chrisums lights".  We've been doing it for as long as I can remember.  In fact, when Victoria was little we'd be so excited for the upcoming holiday that we'd start in mid-November, just on the off chance that we'd spy some early decorators like ourselves.

Years have passed, and gas prices have risen, but this is one time of year that I don't seem to notice the need for additional visits to the local gas station.  That time in the warm car, Christmas music playing happily in the background, driving around the town is something I look forward to all year long.  Even now, every one of the kids still seems to get as much enjoyment out of it as I do.  Each night, someone asks, "Are we going for a drive tonight?"  To add to the excitement, a local radio station plays all 26 installments of the 1930's radio classic, "The Cinnamon Bear", at 7:00 each night.  Although we've heard it countless times, we still like to tune in to see how Judy and Jimmy are doing on their quest to find their beloved silver star.

There's a downside to this annual tradition, however.  In the interest of saving energy, no doubt an excellent goal under normal circumstances, many people are switching to, ugh, LED lights.  Now, if you are a devoted greenie, please don't get too upset.  I am all for saving the planet through wiser uses of our natural resources but, frankly, these LED Christmas lights are not only ugly, they are depressing!  Sort of like listening to a Kenny G Christmas song.  Each time I hear one of Kenny's Yuletide saxophone renditions I get that horrible feeling one has at about 11:55 PM on Christmas night...  It's all over.

LED Christmas lights lack that warm, old-fashioned glow.  That welcoming, It's a Wonderful Life nostalgia that the old, incandescent bulbs give off.  Those big opaque bulbs in colors like red, green, orange, white and blue or the sparkly transparent ones that add purples and pinks to the equation just scream Christmas!  The cold gray-bluish or dingy green-yellowish LED's are a poor replacement, making barely a whimper in their quest to add holiday spark to your split-level McMansion.  And the colored versions?  Unless you are withing 15 or 20 feet, you can hardly make them out.

A string or two of cozy C-9's...

I know that there are many more important things to think about, but one of the most delightful parts of the cold winter nights leading up to Christmas is the sight of streets all aglow.  As far as I am concerned, LED lights should be banned (OK, that may be going a bit far) and "Christmas" lights would be kept alight all the way through the winter until the warmth of Spring began its approach.  After all, in the rather dreary days so many people have experienced in recent years, a little extra sparkle would be a welcome addition.

So, if you are really committed to being Dapper and Dreamy...  break out those big old lights and deck the house from top to bottom.  And, if you are like we are and are beyond committed, trim your tree with them, too!

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree...about everything! The good old fashioned music and the non led lights tempting us out for a holiday drive. Its a wonderful life is one of my favorite movies, the old ones are so romantic. I'm off to watch white christmas...I have to find a way to fit all my favorites in before its all over.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.