TWINKLE LIGHTS – Christmas lights (also known informally as fairy lights) are lights used for decoration in preparation for Christmas and for display throughout Christmastide. The custom goes back to the use of candles to decorate the Christmas tree in Christian homes in early modern Germany. Christmas trees displayed publicly and illuminated with electric lights became popular in the early 20th century. By the mid-20th century, it became customary to display strings of electric lights along streets and on buildings. Christmas decorations detached from the Christmas tree itself. In the United States, it became popular to outline private homes with such Christmas lights in tract housing beginning in the 1960’s. By the late 20th century, the custom had also been adopted in non-western countries.
I LOVE the lights! Each one is a glorious burst of magical sunshine that warms my heart, puts a smile on my pasty, winter face, and makes me want to burst into my favourite Christmas song, ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ by Mariah Carey. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to personally experience the whole ‘Christmas’ lights thing until I was in my mid twenties because, well, I’m a jew. There was Channukah in our house but no Christmas. Now, I’ve got no qualms with Channukah. Eight presents across eight nights, potato latkes (seriously delicious), and chocolate gelt (It’s chocolate. How could you go wrong?). But how come we don’t get a tree with all the mystical, magical lights? What’s that about? And so, after a dear old friend, Mike, had discovered that I’d never experienced Christmas before, he called me one morning and instructed me not to eat past three in the afternoon, bring pajamas, and be prepared to be seven years old (any easy task considering my maturity level reached the capacity of five years old on most days). I did as I was told, and at 3:00pm, Mike picked me up and drove to a hotel not too far away. Yeah, I thought that was slightly odd too. But Mike is the nicest guy on the entire planet, so I knew I was safe. As we walked into the hotel and down a corridor, I noticed as large sign on a conference room door that read, ‘Welcome to Christmas morning’. And then he slowly opened the door. I suddenly understood why he instructed me to prepare myself to be seven years old. What stood before me was, literally, Christmas morning. On the far side of the room was a large tree fully decorated with every colour light you could imagine. It lit up the entire room with complete joy. Underneath the tree were fully-wrapped presents that were calling out my name. There was a table with chocolate-chip pancakes and orange juice ready for my empty belly, and Christmas music blasting out ‘Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town’ by Bruce Springsteen. I ask you, could life get any better?!
I enjoyed every second of that night, and began to think of ways to bring that much joy into my life. So I now have what’s called a ‘Channukah tree’. Yep. A Channukah tree. It’s got tiny, little dradles hanging from each branch, eight presents under the tree, and beautiful blue and white bulbs that light up the room with sheer joy; though I have to admit I’ve extended the colour palate this past year to include red, orange, yellow, green and blue. And you know what? It changed EVERYTHING! My open-style home is filled wall-to-wall with magic and joy.
That said, once a year just ain’t enough for me. I wanted more. I wanted it everyday. So I bought a few more strands of the ivory twinkle lights and wrapped them around my headboard in our bedroom. And guess what happened? Joy. That’s what. The room was filled with a soft glow, gently whispering to me, ‘Come, lay in the bed, wrap you arms around each other, and drift into a peaceful sleep’.
Aside from hanging the lights in the bedroom, which I highly recommend, we also hang the twinkle lights outside along the railings of our back porch. My husband and I host monthly jam parties at our house, which usually involves lots of guitar playing, singing, drinking and eating s’mores by the fire pit. So having light outside in the back is key for not only preventing potential accidents from a lack of vision, but also for providing the mood. The twinkle lights invite people to come outside, sit around the fire circle, sing a tune, and roast a marshmallow. The twinkle lights wrapped around the gigantic tree by the fire pit is the icing on the cake.
So go out there and get some twinkle lights. To wrap around your headboard, coat rack, railings or trees. Just start wrapping. Because truly, TWINKLE LIGHTS CHANGE EVERYTHING!