You Can Never Have Too Many Cookies Or Too Many Christmas Lights
As I have mentioned before, I love Christmas lights. Given my affinity for Christmas trees, this should come as no surprise. I'm not sure how it started but I've found that just putting lights on my tree at Christmas just wasn't enough. This must have been a grown-up thought because as a kid we never put lights on our house or trees in the yard at Christmas. The only lights you could find would be one little strand on the Christmas tree. At some point when I was grown and making my own money, I realized that I could buy as many lights as I wanted and put them wherever I wanted. This must have been a liberating moment. I only wish I could remember it.
In college, I used blue Christmas lights as a night light. I'm not afraid of the dark or anything (not that I like it too much) but I found that the glow of the lights was very soothing. This is an important thing when you're pretending to be a grown-up and you think you have such a hard life. My stresses then were nothing compared to the ones I have now. After I graduated college, I moved into an apartment. Since I rented, I couldn't put holes in the walls to hang my lights, so I settled for stringing them around the balcony railing. The condo association had a Christmas balcony lighting contest. It would be safe to say that they didn't even stop as they went by my balcony. One puny strand wouldn't win it.
Since that time, I have used Christmas lights in my classroom. Year round. I think it started by stringing one innocent strand around the board with the intent of "drawing attention to the board." Yeah, right. I liked the look so much that I expanded my light collection and looped them from my drop tile ceiling frame. I found other things in the room that also looked good wrapped in lights. I think that I had a total of seven strands, all connected end-to-end. One easy plug turned my room from standard to tacky in just a second. I put them up at Christmas and liked them so much, I kept them up year round. It was very calming to my students during our read alouds. I'm sorry to say that my twinkle fairyland was shut down because I was breaking something they called "fire codes." I think this was a conspiracy by The Man to squelch my festiveness. I mean really....me? Burn down a building with Christmas lights? Not possible!
And then I moved to Mississippi. I'm sure we have things like "fire codes" here but so far, I've not been told to take my lights down. I currently have 5 multicolored strands looped from my classroom ceiling, one purple strand around my homework board, and multicolored lights around my front and back white boards. This is offset by white lights around the door so that I can place different plastic holiday covers on them. I have plastic light covers for just about every holiday. My room definitely looks interesting. There are parts of me that is screaming, "It just looks so tacky!" but honestly, the kids totally love it. And I do too. I'm keeping them up until The Man tells me to take them down.
I've also found that battery powered Christmas lights can be used for more than a wreath. As you may know, I often dress in costume at school. During the last week before our Christmas break, I give each day a theme. On Christmas Tree day, I dress in a green dress with little ornaments pinned to my dress. There are pockets on this dress where I store the battery pack for my lights, which are also pinned to my dress. The outfit is completed with gold garland as a boa and a headband with an angel perched on my head. I get lots of stares when I wear this to school. I wonder why. I don't keep the joy to myself though, I also let the kids in on the fun...they're welcome to dress up too.
This week, my sweet friend Carrie gave me a Christmas necklace and matching earrings that have lights. Any yes, they not only are shaped like lights, they actually light up! They are so great!!!! They will go nicely with the rest of my extensive Christmas accessories. Some may view my lights as a little "too much" but I figure hey... most people are pretty easily distracted. Why not give them something interesting to look at? After all, a walking Christmas tree that teaches math may not be enough to capture the attention of 25 fourth graders.