Christmas Lights

 

My wife and I have a yearly holiday disagreement: boring white lights or beautiful colored lights? As our woefully artificial tree is pre-lit with white lights (and I’m disinclined to get a new one) the argument is largely intellectual. Still, I gaze in wonderment and amazedness at the lovely colors of the Christmas tree across the street in the neighbors’ window.

White Lights

Pros:

  • Matches everything
  • Supposedly elegant
  • Safe choice
  • The mayonnaise of holiday décor
  • Can be used other times of year to decorate your dorm room

Cons:

  • Boooooring!
  • Colonialist and non-woke
  • Wife’s choice, not mine
  • Reminds you of your dorm room

Colored Lights

Pros:

  • Magical
  • Nostalgic – the bigger the better. I’d hang colored floodlights on my tree if I could.
  • Diverse!
  • The Sriracha of holiday décor

Cons:

  • Not sure if I should call them “colored lights” or “lights of color”
  • Hipsters are claiming them for themselves, and they are mine
  • I want to spell it “coloured” and that’s pretentious
  • I gaze at them too lovingly and my wife gets jealous

White lights or lights of colour? You tell me in the comments. And then I’ll judge you.

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There are 43 comments.

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  1. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Get a real tree and put colored lights on it. Put the fake back in the garage.

    • #1
  2. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    Nope!  White lights for me, tiny and twinkling.

    • #2
  3. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    One of my first jobs was working in Rockefeller Center and we watched for weeks as they set up The Tree.  This was before energy efficient boring LEDs…the tree was decorated with a bazillion c7 bulbs.  The secret to a spectacular tree is to layer the bulbs all the way in to the interior of the tree.  When we have our big tree up (artificial because we sometimes travel), the secret is at least 20 strings of lights, most of them 150 lights each.  Multicolor, of course.

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Drusus:

    My wife and I have a yearly holiday disagreement – boring white lights? Or beautiful colored lights?

    Gee, I wonder on which side of the discussion you would fall? 🤔

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Drusus: I want to spell it “coloured” and that’s pretentious

    No, just British or Canadian (or Australian, etc.).

    • #5
  6. Drusus Inactive
    Drusus
    @Drusus

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Drusus:

    My wife and I have a yearly holiday disagreement – boring white lights? Or beautiful colored lights?

    Gee, I wonder on which side of the discussion you would fall? 🤔

    The side of Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Why do you ask? ;)

    • #6
  7. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Drusus: I want to spell it “coloured” and that’s pretentious

    No, just British or Canadian (or Australian, etc.).

    I think he said “pretentious.”

    • #7
  8. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Drusus (View Comment):

    Gee, I wonder on which side of the discussion you would fall? 🤔

    The side of Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Why do you ask? ;)

    Unlike Superman.

    • #8
  9. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    @jameslileks once wrote something to the effect that white lights are [protestant? Lutheran?] and colored lights are Catholic. 

    I prefer a monotone look. I quite like the cold blue lights which I assume are LEDs – there is something wan about them that says ‘winter’ to me. 

    However I am overruled by the usual suspects and when there are lights they are varicolored. 

    • #9
  10. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):
    This was before energy efficient boring LEDs

    Whoa, now, if your LEDs are boring, you’re just buying the wrong LEDs, Gromit. You can get multi-color C9s or C7s or many other sizes and types.

    • #10
  11. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    My vision is a bit fuzzy without my glasses. I like to look at Christmas trees with my glasses off. The lights grow into mighty bulbs. It looks so much better when they are mighty bulbs of color.

    • #11
  12. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    I’d be easily led to the Multi-Color Side if the colors were different, or omitted a few. It’s a mash-mash.

    • #12
  13. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    I dream of a world where the white lights and the colored lights can live together in harmony on the same tree.

    • #13
  14. OkieSailor Member
    OkieSailor
    @OkieSailor

    Blue LEDs on the house, multi-colored on the tree at the OS complex. Merry Christmas all ‘yall.

    • #14
  15. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    I’d be easily led to the Multi-Color Side if the colors were different, or omitted a few. It’s a mash-mash.

    I bet these days that you can get the colors that you want.

    • #15
  16. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    The new safer lights don’t have the same good colors the old ones had.  This year I left the old colored lights in the boxes, they’re quite old.

    • #16
  17. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    How about both – the more the merrier!  

    • #17
  18. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    Life needs color. I have a real tree with colored lights.

    • #18
  19. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    There is no truth to the rumor that the Elf on the Shelf is easier to spot by black light. 

    • #19
  20. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    You had me at “Colonialist and non-woke.”  Them there are the lights I want.  If you can make them heteronormative, so much the better.

    • #20
  21. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    White lights.

    Colored lights distract and overwhelm our collection of distinct and interesting ornaments on the tree.

    White lights outside highlight the beauty of that which they are illuminating. Colored lights distract from the beauty of that which they are illuminating.

    The only place colored lights look good are to provide interest by lining an otherwise boring roofline or a long ranch fence.

    • #21
  22. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    Both.

    It depends on the artistry of the Christmas display maker.  White light displays can be elegant and pristine, but then a colored display at the hands of a great artist,Whoa! Baby! And all the classic often more jovial displays are colored. To each his own.  

    • #22
  23. Marythefifth Inactive
    Marythefifth
    @Marythefifth

    No lights on tree. That’s what a very spare amount of tinsel is for. That was my childhood and it was good! I agree that lights obscure the ornaments. Nothing I see in the last few years in the way of lights on peoples houses compares to the cold white and proper colors of yesteryear. The rich neighborhoods used to stun me with their very expensive display of one color. Not anymore. You know, you come to expect and take for granted that technology tends to get better. The exception proves the rule, eh?

    • #23
  24. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    I used all 3 kinds this year, white, “white”, and colored. No plan. What still works is what get used. That includes roundish bulbs, pinecone bulbs, and … something like pinecones.

    Overall, it looks like Santa’s crooked smile — inviting, but something’s a little off.

    • #24
  25. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    I still fondly remember when we were kids and if a bulb went bad, the whole string of lights would go out. Then as I listened to my Dad cuss while he tried to find the bad bulb, I knew Christmas was really here.

    • #25
  26. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Gee, all the lights on our tree are white this year, and they’re anything but boring.

    How about tacky?

    Meet “Da” and “Nyet”, the reindeer on our front porch.  Anyone care to guess how they got their names?

    • #26
  27. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Stad (View Comment):
    Meet “Da” and “Nyet”, the reindeer on our front porch. Anyone care to guess how they got their names?

    Do their heads move, perhaps? One up and down and the other side-to-side?

    • #27
  28. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    We have both.  The tree has white lights.

     

    The house has colored lights.

    And here. 

    • #28
  29. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Stad (View Comment):

     

    Meet “Da” and “Nyet”, the reindeer on our front porch. Anyone care to guess how they got their names?

    At least Da is out of the doghouse.

    • #29
  30. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    You can’t decorate a dorm room with colored lights?  Why not?

    • #30
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