The voice of De Anza since 1967.

The secret hell of Christmas lights

January 19, 2016

Every Christmas is accompanied with all manner of fond things: fir trees, candy canes and TV reruns. But what is far too often unaddressed is the terrible aftermath of the holiday cheer; the infuriatingly twinkly phantoms that haunt middle class suburbia well into the heat of July: the lights. This is no exaggeration; deep into spring – even occasionally the summer – one can drive out at night, and be blinded by the soulless twinkle of half–burnt bulbs still drawing the eye.

There is a myriad of reasons off–season decour is a plague – and not a blessing. From the theoretically astronomical social and environmental impact enough tiny LED bulbs could have, to the cruel joke played on the minds of Californians who yearn fruitlessly for the (nonexistent) rain of winter months, the hidden ill effects of these lights could be potentially enormous and indeterminately dangerous.

The psychological toll may be felt by all who gaze upon the bulbs’ bright and mocking glare. One associates christmas lights with wintertime, and the harsh disconnect one finds with lights in July is deeply unsettling. Not only does it cruelly highlight the lack of snow, rain, and water in general, but also throws into startling clarity the sheer length of time that remains before the next coming of the holiday season. If the Starbucks Cup Controversy is anything to go by, the fragility of the collective American consciousness is clearly not built to handle such horrible realizations.

Moreover, this psychological toll is not confined to the spring and summer months. Homes that hang their lights too early – or leave them up far, far too late – risk permanently scarring their neighbors and friends during the vulnerable periods of October and November. If christmas lights are not a constant of winter, then what is a constant in this empty mockery of a facade one calls life? No one can scarf down a turkey dinner with a sense of overwhelming existential horror already filling their stomach.

The effects of christmas lights are not only damaging intellectually; one needs look no farther than the pages of Consumer Reports to realize that LED bulbs, while many times over more effective than conventional halogen lighting, use electricity. Electricity can be generated all sorts of ways. For example, one can tie children to treadmills and make them run by offering sugary drinks and cheeze-itz. If you light your house with christmas lights year round, you could theoretically be supporting this type of child exploitation, should it turn out this is how America generates power for our electrical grids. Human trafficking is illegal in most countries; should Santa be on the naughty list?

Next time one contemplates leaving lights up past when they should, they ought to consider: do they hate the environment, children, their neighbors, and the stability of the American dream? Be a patriot. Buy a ladder.

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