It’s time for the annual debate about whether you should turn off your Christmas lights. The answer is “yes,” but let’s pretend there is a valid opposing viewpoints. Such as:
1. “Such small lights, such great power! They lance the shroud of night and give forth hope at a time when darkness is still so eager to consume the tailcoats of the day. No, no, I will not turn them off! Also, I’m in Florida this month, and they’re on timers, so.”
2. “Oh, come on! Isn’t it nice to see houses still gaily arrayed, looking cheerful and carefree? It makes a person feel all warm and bubbly inside. Let’s keep them up until Valentine’s Day, and then plunge the world into a coal sack if it’ll make you happy.”
It would. Well, no, it wouldn’t, but it would be honest. One of the houses I pass daily has illuminated candy canes, as if hard, striped confectionary crooks are still appropriate. They aren’t. For heaven’s sake, people, we’re deep into heart-shaped chocolate season here. I want to march up to the front door, rap my knuckles on the glass, and say:
“Ho ho ho! Say, I’m looking for Santa Claus Lane? I was supposed to be at a party on Dec. 21, and based on the plastic rods on your lawn, you seem like someone who thinks there’s time to order from Amazon in time for holiday delivery.”
Of course I wouldn’t actually do that, because people call the police.
Or at least, that’s been my experience.
I understand why people don’t turn off the lights: It’s depressing. It reminds you of the bygone joy of Christmas, the inexorable grinding advance of time, the inevitable victory of the black abyss and how much you paid the utility company because you didn’t turn them off sooner.
In the future you will be able to take care of this from your phone. Seriously. I had internet-enabled lights this Christmas; they let me control the color and blinking pattern from an app. I could do everything but get a refund when they failed after three weeks and did nothing but blink blue and white, which made all my neighbors say “Happy Hannukah!
So there are bugs to work out. But once all your lights are controlled by an app, you can set the lights-out date the day you turn them on and spare yourself the angst. Or you can just say, “Siri, turn off my lights for good.”
“OK!” she will say, summoning a Predator drone with Hellfire missiles.
On second thought, let’s let them burn a while longer.