Christmas took its annual hit this week. I know. I was part of the problem.
That's because under my nose, our house was white this year. Primarily, I blame my wife. She did it against my wishes and when I was otherwise occupied.
Still, I'm embarrassed. And given my advocacy for all things colored in the past, I thought I should confess right here and now, before someone drives past our home and outs me in a letter to the editor.
Permit me to explain.
For years, I have taken note of a battle under way, primarily in the suburbs, between the coloreds and the whites. It has nothing to do with race relations. Still, the stakes are high. The survival of Christmas as we've known it hangs like mistletoe in the balance.
The front lines for this battle are front lawns. What concerns me becomes visible just as soon as the stores open on Black Friday. With that starting gun for the holiday season comes the maelstrom that is the month of December: shopping sales, the mailing of cards, office parties, holiday tipping, caroling and Midnight Mass. All along the way, many of us are decking the halls. And it's that decorating that has me concerned.
I'm talking about Christmas lights. Those bland, boring, entirely too prim and proper WHITE lights. Have you noticed? They're everywhere, and we've got to stop them. (It's the holiday equivalent of thwarting communism. Mr. Gorbachev, turn off those lights!)
One domino at a time, they come into neighborhoods in the suburban counties, and they spread like a virus. House to house, street to street, neighborhood to neighborhood. At this stage, only a concerted conversion program can save us. This is why I'm starting next year's campaign
After all, it was never like this when "we" were growing up. Back then we celebrated this special time of year by hanging lights on trees, in front of our homes, outside of our courthouses, and along our Main Streets. And not just any lights. I remember gaudy, fat COLORED Christmas lights. They were red. They were green. They were orange, and they were blue.
They were inclusionary. They were bright, brazen and showy. And they were everywhere.
But then something happened. We got a little more education than our parents. Our jobs were a rung higher on the ladder upon which they had toiled. We moved into houses a little bit larger than those in which we were raised. And once we got there, we abandoned our colored-light roots. We acquired a taste for quiche and microbrews and became white-light people. Petite, nonoffensive, uniform white lights. The lights of power and prestige. The lights of suburban panache and urban glamour. Of fakers and phonies.
Already it's a nationwide epidemic. Condominium and townhouse associations across the nation have banned colored lights. Places like Fort Collins, Colo., are confining them to the attic. Last month, a task force there recommended banning colored lights in favor of more secular decorations such as snowflakes and icicles. But white lights made the cut. It's a sign of the times.
While some Christmas defenders have been looking the other way, focused on preserving the manger in the town square or maintaining "Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful" in the "winter pageant" at school, Christmas has been dealt a serious blow in the area of illumination. Well, I say we reverse the trend before it's too late. Colored lights are just too important a part of our rich tradition to be relegated to the storage box.
Colored lights may be gaudy, but white lights are something our country has never been: Boring. Can you imagine a Fourth of July celebration that featured only white fireworks? Heck, no. And you can be sure Francis Scott Key never laid eyes upon any rocket's "white" glare.
I pledge to you, our loyal readers, that next year will be different in my house. I will man up, take control of the front lawn, and return it to colored splendor.
I am asking you to join me. To commit to embracing colored holiday lights. Make a pact with me now, that when it comes to be Thanksgiving 2008, you will go to Target, Wal-Mart or Kmart (or someplace where grounded people shop) and you will find the biggest, baddest colored lights on the shelf, and hang them in front of your home. In Bryn Mawr, Newtown, and Chestnut Hill. Out in West Chester, down in Chadds Ford, and over in Mullica Hill. We must fight and win the battle for Christmas past!