Friday, December 08, 2006

Frickin', frackin' Christmas lights!

Last night was my night to put up my outdoor Christmas lights. I do love Christmas lights. I am not an “early” Christmas person. First I decorate the outside of my house, then the inside, and then, just a few days before Christmas, we set up our tree. I have a self-imposed deadline for my outside lights. My birthday is on the 8th, so my birthday present to myself is having my lights hung for my birthday. So last night was my light hanging night.

Last year my husband took down the Christmas lights. So instead of finding them in carefully bundled in the usual box, I found a mass of lights in a plastic trash bag. Eight tangled sets of lights. Can you say macrame? What a mess and a a test of my patience. The good thing is that the lights over-wintered well. There were relatively few broken or burned out bulbs and even better, I did not have to change one fuse. (Thank you baby Jesus, Amen!) The bad thing was that a number of the burned out bulbs where white, C-7 bulbs, which I have no replacements for. I am picky; I like my strands to display their colors in proper order. No willy–nilly bulb placement here. As it turns out, this is not the year to buy white C-7 bulbs. I ran to Smiths by my house, no white bulbs, so I went took my local shopping "loop", which puts me, at the furthest point from home, at the shopping area about 4 miles away. I stopped at Smiths, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Big Lots, Family Dollar, Home Depot, Shopko and K-Mart; nary a white bulb could be found, or for that matter, hardly any C-7 replacement bulbs at all. Perhaps if I expand my “loop” to Target or Walmart I’ll be able to find some.

This gets me to my peeve about Christmas and marketing. Every year the selection at the stores is different, making it difficult to find replacements to match my existing decorating scheme. Like I presume, most people’s, my decorating has been an evolutionary process. Perhaps because Christmas is a nostalgic time, I wanted multicolored C-9 strands, like my parents used when I was kid, to decorate my home. The year we bought our house C-7 bulbs (the smaller size) where in vogue and available, so that is what we bought to line our porch and wind around our Alberta spruce. A few year later I wanted more lights, so I could outline the garage and windows, but low and behold the stores only had C-9 lights, so now my house is decorated with a mix of sizes. Later we needed lights for the upstairs and they were different again, instead of being five color strands; red, orange, blue, green and white, they were four color strands; red, orange, blue and green. Every year the stores seem to offer up something different, sometimes it’s the bulb size that changes, some years the stores have mostly opaque bulbs, sometimes transparent ones, sometimes the stores stock multicolored sets, other years they have mostly single color sets. My favorite was the year that the store nearest my house had boxes and boxes of purple transparent C-7 light strands. Now how often do you see a house all decked out in Christmas purple???

The dearth of replacement bulbs found in the stores this year is more shocking than ever. Those of us that don’t like living in the “disposable world” want to be able to use our lights year after year. We want to be able to find replacement bulbs and fuses (yikes, don’t get me going on fuses!). We don’t want to feel like we’re being forced by the “marketing powers” to buy new decorations every year. I feel bad enough about the energy I use to power the lights, I don’t want to create landfill issues too! And I really don’t want to think about the energy I’ll be wasting driving all over town looking for those elusive white bulbs!

1 comment:

ellen said...

Holy cow! So that's why I don't decorate the outside of my house. All along it's been your "anal peeve" about color and size that's been transmitting through the air from Utah to MI. I know for certain that if I ever tried doing what you're doing, my neighbors would hear me swearing from one end of the block to the other and probably call the cops.
Bless ya, sistah!