Season of Lights

As we move into December, I’m beginning to see more and more Christmas lights. I’ve always loved them, while being thankful for the fact that we have no outside outlets and therefore can’t put up our own outside lights.

Driving around, there are several different kinds of lights to be seen. My favorites have always been the multicolored lights, with no white lights mixed in. Personally, at least for now, I prefer the old-fashioned incandescent types. They seem warmer, with a better distribution of color. The reds and oranges are brighter, the blues less prominent. The newer LED lights seem to be too heavy on the blues. Their blue lamps are quite bright, and  their oranges and reds less bright in comparison. I suspect that this is something that will get fixed in time–the manufacturers need to make light strings where the warmer colors are brighter.

My next favorite are the all white lights, which seem to be more fashionable right now. They tend to come both as shrub lighting and as a dangly effect on the house’s roofline. White lights are starting to come in both incandescent and LED varieties; for white lights I dislike the LEDs less than the multicolored LED lights. Old fashioned lights are warmer, and the LEDs are a cooler, whiter, white, but that somehow seems appropriate for a winter decoration. You sometimes see a mix of the two– one part of the lights are incandescent, and another part LED. I’m not sure this is always deliberate, and you can often tell the two apart, but sometimes it works well.

Another kind of lighting design, usually on trees, is lights all of one color– all green, all blue, all red. You usually see this on public displays, like in a park, though one of the houses in town is doing this too. I’m not so fond of single color displays, though they can work if different trees have different colors.

One thing that doesn’t work at all, in my opinion, is mixing colored lights with white lights. Do one or the other, please. Rather than appearing as another color, the white lights dilute the effect of the colored lights.

Finally, the last kind of lighting display, and probably the most old-fashioned, are the window lights. This is what we’ll be putting up in a few days. The lady who used to live across the street used to drape strings of the small multicolored lights in her front window; we have the candle lights. I’ve seen red, blue and green candle lights, but they always seem kind of cold and dark; I like the white or orange lights best.

Whatever the color or how they’re arranged, the lights are a welcome relief from the darkest nights of the year.