One of my favorite features of the holiday season is Christmas lights. They’re like a cheerful “fuck you” to what is otherwise the darkest, bleakest, coldest, dirtiest, deadliest, most expensive and yet least prosperous time of year.
It’s no accident that our fellow omnivores and giant, marauding, godless killing machines, bears, eat themselves into a carb coma until the sun returns to an arc in the sky sufficient to wake them again. Humans. Well, we drink. Holidays Thanksgiving and Christmas give us a reason to and Saint Patrick’s Day and Marti Gras remind us to top off and blackout of the whiteout again about halfway through this sun-forsaken trudge to reach spring, warmth, hope, that glorious light at the end of the tunnel.
Light. That’s key. Well, one of them. But light’s an important one.
I’m one of many vulnerable to a touch of the SAD this time of year. I fight it with vitamin D supplements (sunshine in a pill), [forced] regular exercise (endorphins) and regular social engagement (sensation of belonging). Light therapy is also one of those things helps with those of us suffering winter depression.
While it’s doubtful that Christmas lights expose us to the wavelengths that could be photo-therapeutic, they do provide illumination and contrast to what is otherwise a very drab season after the leaves have turned and become the appearance and disgusting consistency of soggy cornflakes, brown, maybe covered by white snow under a dreary grey sky punctuated by silhouettes of the naked sticks they used to grow on. And that contrast is interesting and an interested, active mind tends to be less bummed out, in my experience.
But after Christmas, the lights are taken down and we are once again subjected to the dregs of an endless grey, light-deprived funk for the next three months or so. Short of saying “fuck this” like many birds do and migrating south for the winter, I think keeping Christmas lights up until Easter would be very pleasant.
Photo: Jay Floyd