When it comes to holiday lights, there are three types of people:
1. The person who puts down the fork after eating the last morsel of Thanksgiving pie and says, “Well, those lights aren’t going to put themselves up!” and heads outside to hang 40 strings.
2. The one who sits around trying to invent a type of light that does, in fact, put itself up. “Maybe we could use drones with fishing wire and hooks! Controlled by an app! It would be called ... StringR. No; TwinkL. I’m going to design the logo now.”
Four hours later, his wife asks, “Did you get the lights up?” He shows her the phone with a piece of paper taped over the front on which he has drawn sliders to indicate lights, colors, etc., and replies, “And there’ll be a Facebook link so you can post your pictures.”
She glares. So he adds, “What? I should add Twitter, too?”
3. The laid-back soul who gets around to it eventually. That’s most of us, right?
This year I took out the prickly wads of lights, testing each to see how many new sets I would need to buy. Every time I plug them in after a year in the shed, I imagine a tableful of Chinese industrialists laughing themselves to the point of tears: “He expects them to work! Years of experience have taught him nothing.”
But they all worked. Not one bum strand. I put them all up. They were very nice but ho-hum, the same as every year. We needed something more.
At a certain red-themed retailer, I saw a shelf of LED motion lights — you could have a million red dots painted on the side of your house, jiggling around, ensuring a nocturnal attack by waves of feral cats. Or something really festive, like a hundred disembodied Santa heads.
I bought the one that had a remote control, because men like to stand indoors and point a cheap piece of plastic out the window and rule the night. I could adjust the speed, too. Max speed: Red dots looked like the house was being attacked by fevered hornets. Slow speed: White dots looked like 150 ant colonies were simultaneously having a movie premiere.
The best effect? Pointing the device up into the trees so the white dots play along the branches and limbs. It looks as if it’s snowing. Yes, that’s right: I spent $34 for a snow simulator. In Minnesota.
But it’s not just for me. People walking at night will think — if only for a second — that it’s snowing. If we have a brown December, it will bring cheer and hope to the neighborhood.
Back to the giggling Chinese industrialists: “Should we tell him the batteries in the remote last only a week?”