A brief history lesson

By Mir
November 29, 2004

As you admire all the pretty, pretty houses with welcoming lights in their windows this season, please enjoy the following informative timeline of one of my favorite Christmas decorations:

First, there was the candle, made of tallow or wax, with a wick. And it was good. Except for the part where it dripped all over the damn place. That wasn’t so great. And the part where you put it in the window and occasionally the curtains caught on fire. That part could really put a damper on your holiday spirit. Okay; I lied. It really wasn’t very good.

Then, there was the electric candle lamp. It was pretty good. Better, even. But you had to walk around the whole house plugging them in and unplugging them at the appropriate times, and the prongs started getting bent and you probably whacked your head a couple of times while manuevering to reach all the outlets.

Next, there were the battery-operated candle lamps with no unsightly cords. They sucked big hairy donkey balls, because they only light up for 4 minutes before sucking the batteries dry and never working properly again. Let’s all hope that the genius who invented these has chronic athlete’s foot… on his hemmorhoids.

Then, there was the electric candle lamp with a switch on it. It was marginally better than the first corded lamp. You still had to walk around turning them on and off, but the head-whacking was less of an issue.

Finally, there came the electric candle lamp with automatic light sensor. And it was very, very good. Plug those suckers in and enjoy. They turn on when it gets dark, they turn off when it gets light. Pure magic, I tell you. If this were the end of the story, angels would sing and we could all have some hot chocolate and admire my twinkly tree right now.

But wait! There’s more!

Lastly there came the realization that there was a shortage of electric candle lamps with sensors. Sadly, this epiphany coincided with an unbelievable Christmas clearance sale… and a new breed of candle lamp.

Behold the corded electric candle lamp with built-in timer! Plug it in, it stays lit for 8 hours, turns off for 16, and then repeats the cycle. How does it do it?? Where is the timer? It’s very simple: it doesn’t. There is no timer. There may be some tempermental demon possession at play here, but more tests are needed. In a controlled study of a statistically significant sample (translation: my usage of 11 of these lamps over the last 2 days) it was discovered that these lamps stay lit for no less than 9 hours, and some stay lit forever (until you unplug them). But, surely, then they properly reset for the next evening? Ha ha! No! After failing to turn off after 8 hours, they top themselves the next night by never turning on at all, even as late as 19 hours after they last turned off.

In honor of the three gifts the wise men presented to the newborn king, I offer you three morals to this story:

1) Progress is good, except when it keeps progressing past perfection and into crap.

2) Sometimes things are on sale for 90% off for a reason.

3) You had best tell me how awesome my house looks every night, and also how fit and trim I am looking now that I am spending an hour every evening jogging around to plug and unplug.


  1. Ben

    Sometimes things are on sale for 90% off for a reason.

    Ah, Master, I now see the (corded, without a switch) Light.

    And, my, aren’t you looking fit and trim today!

  2. RockStar Mommy

    I had no idea what Christmas decorating can do for your waistline until I started this weekend. My God. Maybe I’ll finally lose this Halloween ass.

  3. Fraulein N

    Your house — and your body — are looking quite lovely.

  4. Gina

    I can so relate to this post. I finally gave up on them. I’ve deduced that there are no window candles that will work in my home. My sills are too shallow, and I don’t have outlets under my windows.

    Kill. Me.

  5. Joshilyn


    Can I come over and run around your house plugging and unplugging?

  6. dad

    Your house must look awesome as do you. Unfortunately I won’t be able to actually see either for a few weeks but we are looking forward with baited breath.

    Yes I know that is misspelled.

  7. Mindie

    You and your house look magnificent, perfect. *Laughs*

  8. Carrie

    Oh, you crack me up!! I am trying to get all the Christmas decorations up tonight, but I think I will have to finish up this weekend when I have more strength! I need to go and buy some white Christmas lights. I have none because for the last 4 years we were using lights that ran on 220 power. At least I won’t have to fight with all the tangled lights!!

  9. MJ

    I bet there are stickers on the bottoms of those candles that say MADE IN CHINA.

  10. Em

    Very late on this but didn’t come up until now. AC Moore – electric, secor lights, on sale $1.89 each (in MA).

    Let there be light.

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest