The outside of my house is now so brightly lit that you can see it from space. It’s never-stopping, never-slowing-down raining and cold and filled with sorrow out in the world, but I still keep padding out in my bare feet to look at the wreath on the door and the garlands on the railings and how the roof line is so charmingly outlined in white lights and the little Japanese maple is all wrapped up tight so that it will become a tree of light when the sun goes down.
It is the loveliest thing I have ever seen. It is temporary. We’ve just got a month to enjoy—maybe two, since I tend to feel that most of January is kind of a December hangover, and you don’t change out of your clothes from the night before when you pass out on the couch, right? And it was money well-spent because I’d be typing this with a broken back in a hospital bed if I had tried to put the lights up myself, and I’d be discharged and come home to a pile of ash and melted electronics that was all the electrical fire had left behind.
Also I’m lazy. Let’s not forget that.
My mom used to light up the porch of the house in Pennsylvania. I think my grandmother had a wreath on the brownstone, maybe a string of lights around the door when they moved to the split-level ranch house in New Jersey. And I’ve never dated anyone who had big lit-up displays, or whose family had them. Sometimes I dated guys who didn’t even like to decorate the insides of their houses. No, that would be all the guys I’ve ever dated. Do you see the hardship I’ve struggled through, all these terrible, light-less years?
Because I have this craving for, this bone-shuddering, belly-trembling, knees-knocking susceptibility to things that are shiny, are bright, are sparkling and flashing and twinkly. I am a depressed person trying hard to stay in the light and etc. I am a raven with slightly less mental facility.
Sparkles—they’re therapy. They make me so happy. SO HAPPY. Every day should be sparkly. All the things should be sparkly. It is ironically a sadness for me, that I am not actually sparkly. Spray adhesive and a Martha Stewart craft kit would be a dangerous combination for me and anyone in my immediate vicinity.
And you know how the holiday season—the Christmas season, really, because the Christmas behemoth has grown so ridiculously, obnoxiously enormous it has swallowed all the other holidays and blotted out the sun (note: and that’s why we look forward to the solstice: Science!)—is shinysparklytwinklehappyshimmerspangleglitter time. It is my favorite. It is the greatest of all the obnoxious, belligerent, wide-shouldered and shouting Christian holidays that become the cultural default because America sucks. It’s obnoxious, but it is also undeniably so pretty. It is so bright, and it pushes back the darkness and that is the gift I am grateful for.
This year feels darker than usual. This year—this year I am going to continue to say happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas and celebrate Saturnalia and the solstice and the Yule instead and I’m going to decorate like a nutter and I’m going be the shiniest of them all.
At the craft store, I loaded up all the sparkly silver things into my cart. All of them. There are none left and you can’t have any of mine, sorry. In the living room last night my roommate and I spent hours and hours cutting paper snowflakes out of candy foil wrappers (it worked less well than you’d really honestly think it ought to, stupid foil wrappers). We wrapped everything in the house in lights and silver garland and feather boas (the dogs were too fast). This morning a local company came and made my house the pretty-shiny-brightest on the block and all of this, it twangs all the strings in my frantically beating tiny little raven heart. The light reaches all the dark corners of my heart. This display, it hits all the notes on my happiness kazoo.
The indoor tree should get here any day now—the big crazy sparkly silver and white one. Ornaments are starting to arrive in the mail. I’m starting to gift-shop, which always ignites so-warm sparks of real pleasure. And everything is bright and lovely, beautiful and a little crazy and exactly what I needed this year, every part of it.