Deciphering The Need To Light Up the Season

Kansas Viewpoint

The urge to light the lawn has its roots in something more than just lawn art

Published on: December 11, 2010
I've been out in the wind and the cold, putting more effort than I can describe into the effort to get my lawn properly lit for Christmas.

First, there's the challenge of getting driveway lights all lined up at the same height and in a straight line. Keep in mind that I am a person who can't draw a straight line on a piece of paper if I have a ruler and the paper is lined. If you are thinking lost cause, you are really close to right. But hey, I try.

I have this general view that more is better, so I just wrap lights around every bare tree and shrub that I can reach. And I like some red lights and some white lights, so we have this nice mix.

Somewhere around midday, with my face windburned and my hands freezing in sub-zero wind chill, a word crept into my mind -- Why?

Why do I feel such a need to do this?

I was so excited this year because LED light strings are so widely available. They can be hooked together in virtually endless strings, unlike their prior generation lights, which require a new plug every three strings. For us light freaks, this is major. It means the ability to encircle the house with no extension cords.

So I bought boxes of LED lights and got out the calculations from last year to figure out the lengths of major stretches around the house, the fence line, the garden, etc.

And once in a while, I thought: Why am I doing this?

Today, as I finished the final wraps in a 30-mph steady wind, I think I found the answer.

Because I love looking at it. I love driving up to my house and seeing all the lights on. I love having the neighbors wave at me and say "You're crazy but I'm so glad that you are doing this again. I really enjoy your lights."

There aren't a lot of things in this world that offer magic. But lights at Christmas transform this ordinary house into a sparkling, magical place. And that's worth a little windburn.