The Old Lights
For those of us who were born after the advent (see what I did there?) of electricity, the most dangerous Christmas tree lighting we experienced were the glass light bulbs that tended to heat up too much. Long before there were those tiny cool-to-the-touch diodes, we had colored spot lights that broke into tiny shards of foot-stabbing cheer!
Man, I miss those lights! The best one can do nowadays is find plastic reproductions that look like the old bulbs. However, you could take an extra risk of burning down your house by plugging in some vintage ones you buy online.
When we were told to unplug the lights before going to bed, it wasn’t just the energy we were trying to conserve.
The Older Lights
But before there were electric lights of any kind, our forefathers and foremothers evidently had the ability to hang flaming wax sticks on combustible evergreens and not die as a result. Of course, these were the same people who survived lead-painted toys and smoked Marlboro Lights for “better health.”
Yes, believe it or not, people really did put candles on Christmas trees, even up until the 1940’s! And what’s even more shocking to me is that there are actually people who still do! Literally, according to some, candle-lit Christmas trees are on the comeback!
If you don’t believe me, here’s a link you can follow to buy your own Christmas tree-burning ornaments.
By the way, has anyone noticed an uptick in house fires, lately?
The What Not’s
I don’t know about you, but it would seem to me that there are some things one should never place on a Christmas tree; the old incandescent bulbs and even older, match-lit torches are only two of them.
But as family conversation would have it, the subject of Christmas trees came up over lunch the other day. Sitting with my wife and my mother, between sips of eggnog and nibbles of Christmas cookies and sugar plums, we determined what things should NOT be put on a Christmas tree – besides candles.
- Tinsel. I don’t know why one is not supposed to put tinsel on a Christmas tree, other than because cats love to eat it. But what’s wrong with that? All it does is make their litter more festive, right?
- Mini Christmas trees. I mean, why? After all, it’s it enough that you have the real thing in your house? Why put little imitations on it? Isn’t that redundant? A little overkill?
- Old ornaments with your ex’s picture on them. That’s just asking for trouble. Fires are started by people, too, you know.
- Cheese. Ever heard the story about it being quiet in the house, right before Santa arrives? Remember how not a creature was stirring, “not even a mouse.” Well, put cheese on your tree and all mistletoe could break loose!
- Mousetraps. Let’s just say your really do want to put cheese on your Christmas tree, you know, to go with the string of popcorn. In an effort to keep the mice from steeling your cheddar-flavored ornaments, you might think it’s a good idea to hand a few well-placed mousetraps. But seriously, what will the children think when dead vermin are found bleeding all over their presents come Christmas morning? Not good.
- Knives. (I thought of this one) My mother literally asked me after I made the suggestion, “Why would anyone put knives on a Christmas tree?” I answered, “Why would anyone hang a lit candle on a piece of kindling right in the middle of the living room?” “Good point,” she replied. But even though knives are shiny, reflect light, and, depending on the color of the handle, can blend in nicely with the decorations – don’t shake the tree when reaching under it for a present. You might end up needing the ribbon for a tourniquet.
- White-corded lights on a green tree (or visa versa). This was my wife’s suggestion of what NOT to put on a Christmas tree, but then I reminded her that such a suggestion might get her into trouble. Why? Because what if the boxes in which the wires came were mislabeled? What if the white strand of lights self-identified as a green strand of lights? Who needs a law suit on Christmas Eve? Just wrap them around the tree and let them twinkle.
So, in a chestnut shell, try to avoid anything that might cause bad memories, set your house on fire, harm pets, or offend trans-colored wiring, and your Christmas tree will bring you hours of entertainment and joy – until you have to take it down.
Do you think the real reason there may have been “no room in the inn” was because Joseph mentioned something about putting up a birthday tree?
I hope you laughed. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22a).