10 December 2008

Did You Really Think This Through?

So, back to the subject of Christmas, and the celebratory symbols surrounding it. Don't worry, I'm not ranting today. When I left work tonite, I decided to drive home through the city rather than take the highway, because it rained all day and then the temps dropped below freezing and I was worried I would slide off the highway. Driving the route through the city takes a little bit longer, but it meant I got to pass the Rutland Town Town Hall, on the front lawn of which is displayed a giant Christmas tree brightly lit with coloured lights. It was very pretty. I always have enjoyed Christmas trees and simple outdoor lighted displays. Net lights look particularly gorgeous draped over full hedges and then lightly dusted with snow.

Seeing the Rutland Town tree got me to thinking, though. Tonite I was driving home after 10pm and there was that tree fully lit. Obviously, it would be lit all night. I couldn't help but think of all the electricity being wasted to light a tree that probably won't even be seen by very many people. I found myself wondering if it was really necessary. Sure, the tree is pretty, and yes it lifted my mood when I saw it, but is that worth wasting limited resources? Especially in a time when towns (and the state) are having to re-evaluate their tax bases, cut their budgets, and find any way possible to save money. And at a time when Efficiency Vermont is constantly reminding people to find ways to conserve energy. Is lighting a superfluous symbol all night really the thing to do? Maybe we should find a different way to decorate it.

I got to thinking about how I decorated the first tree I had in my own apartment. I couldn't have it inside, because the apartment was too small, and I was very worried how Colyn would react to it. Instead, I put it outside on the tiny porch, and then I begged my mother to make me a ton of little, red, velvet bows. I wired those onto the tree as the only decorations. It promptly snowed, giving my tree a nice coating of white to mix with the green and red. It was the prettiest tree. If I ever manage to move into my own apartment again, that's probably what I'll do for a tree.

It occurred to me that maybe we could do that for a town tree, instead of using lights. Then again, making all those bows would be pretty expensive. Besides, a bow covered tree is only pretty in the daylight, and this time of year there isn't much daylight. So, my mind got to working, and spinning, and even smoking a little, trying to come up with a cheaper way to have a pretty night time Christmas Tree. And I lit upon the idea of reflectors. What if someone could design a kind of reflector that could be put on a tree, maybe like the traditional ornaments, or like the old fashioned tinsel. Then, as a car passed, the headlights would light up the Christmas tree and the driver would get to enjoy the tree without costing the town money. I imagine it glittering and glowing and looking wonderful. I also imagine myself becoming fabulously rich as the inventor of the Christmas Tree Reflector Lights. Too bad I don't know anything about inventing. I should probably just stick to my book idea and hope I get rich that way.

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