People say Christmas was better in the old days. That modern festive songs aren’t as good, or the chocolate are not up to scratch. For some reason the spark is not there anymore.
They haven’t changed. The Christmas lights did.
I am not talking about the latest tiny white orbs, with twenty different patterns and a lifetime guarantee. I am talking about the multi-coloured classics with adaptor plugs the size of a fist. The bulbs were actual, hot glass, harnessed to green wiring more akin to something you would wrap round our bean poles than put on a tree.
Shops don’t sell them any more, and the sets have vanished from attics across the country. The only place you can find them is in the background of television special from thirty years before.
Give those programmes watch. You will get a sense of what was different. Those lights build an atmosphere you can sense is warmer for everybody.
Because those figures who stood in the shadows of the room on found them comforting. Once lit by candles and oil lamps, they have always been, watching Something about that rainbow of lights drove them crazy. They swarmed around the red, blue and green, fighting for invisible space. You missed this riot of course, but their battle took place all around you for the whole month of December.
It is not my place to say what changed the lights. A metaphysical coup or fashion may be equally responsible. But Christmas doesn’t feel the same. You might be pleased to learn that’s not a matter of opinion, but fact.