How Do You Like Your Lights?


Kelly Faircloth favors multicolored:

At the risk of sounding treacly, there’s just something a little magical about bringing a big, riotous burst of color to a random corner of your living room, or your front porch, or strung across your kitchen window. It changes the whole look of the place. You dim the overhead lights and suddenly it’s all red, green and blue. Doesn’t matter if you’ve got landlord beige walls and Ikea furniture—suddenly it’s like you’re inside that Chip and Dale cartoon where they wreak havoc inside Mickey’s Christmas tree, or that Indian restaurant downtown.

Plus, they’re retro as hell. You can trigger your parents’ nostalgia by lightly evoking your grandparents’ living room, or you can go with those big fat bulbs if you want to deck your tree out in full Mad Men cosplay. It’s fun. It’s festive. It says go ahead, have too many cups of spiked hot chocolate and wear that Santa hat, we’re all friends here.

Kate Dries prefers white:

Even without a tree, white lights are entirely superior beast to their bastard cousin, the multicolored light strand.

White lights give off a soft glow that demands the age-old mantra, “Everyone looks better in the dark,” be updated to “Everyone looks better when lit by white Christmas lights.” There is a reason college students, who are otherwise idiots about decor, use white light strands to decorate their barren dorm rooms: they set an automatic mood of peace and tranquility. Not to mention, white lights are classy as fuck. They work with everything. They let your decorations shine. They look like snow. They look like ice. They look like candles. They look like Christmas.

I grew up in a household where white Christmas lights – which, I like I said, are the only Christmas lights – were treated with a degree of reverence normally reserved for a beloved figurine of the Baby Jesus inherited from a long-dead relative. To watch my mother (and her father before her) put lights on a Christmas tree is akin to watching a great sculptor like Bernini lovingly craft some of his greatest works. It takes hours upon hours. … For this is the Most Holy Part of Christmas.

Update from a reader:

OK, at the risk of jumping into what seems a very minor skirmish in the non-War on Xmas, let me say that both colored lights and white lights are correct – colored lights indoors, white lights outdoors. The simple elegance of white lights adorning a house’s architectural lines, and perhaps in the shrubbery or smaller trees in front, do the original cultural work of our European mid-winter celebrations: they fight the darkness, remind us that the days might still be cold, but there’s more light every day. The multi-colored lights inside transform our vision the way the foods we feast on transform our palettes and our waistlines: more kinds of light, visual calories. Comfort food, comfort lights.

Happy Christmas to one and all at the Dish. See you the 26th: I’m taking a day off from the Web as a present!

(Photo by Flickr user Christmas w/a K)