Holiday Vomit Lights, An Appreciation


Pictured above (appropriately snapped without care for composition or focus), is without question in my mind: The Worst Christmas Decoration In The City — and The Best. Sure, they’re everywhere, but this particular installation in the Pico-Union district of town is a shining and glorious example of what I affectionately call “vomit lights” because, well, look upon them. It’s as if someone straight-on upchucked ’em (that or maybe this is how taggers do it during the Christmas season, with a spray of lights instead of paint).

Not only is this anarchic sub-style of seasonal illumination an affront to holiday decorating perfectionists everywhere, but I’m sure this silly string of twinklies goes against some sectional statute buried deep in the freakin’ Code Of Nature, itself — which are two reasons this display that I abhor also happens to be my favorite holiday lighting in the city. I hold them in the highest disregard. I love them unconditionally.

Full disclosure: Those perfection-minded decorators I mentioned above? Oh yeah, I’m soooo one of that legion. Every year when I climb up on the roof to risk serious bodily injury hanging up the lights at my house (always during the weekend after ThanksgivingĀ  — always!), I’m faced with a design dilemma. See, the three strands of icicle lights that go along my 30-foot rain gutter measure 27 feet. Inevitably during my initial placement they end up off-center and I kid you not, I will literally take the ridiculous amount of time and further risk of falling off the roof required to physically move the lights one way and the other until there’s an almost equal 1.5 feet of unlighted rain gutter at either end. It’s called idiocy, I know. It’s also called symmetry, people. And I’m a slave to it.

After the jump you can see what I mean. Seriously, even the reindeer are mirroring each other. To some that’s a cry for help. To me, a call of duty. But I digress…


So while I’m utterly unable to avoid meticulously making my display anything less than balanced, at the same time I deeply envy (with a residual dose of scorn) those graduates from the School of Couldn’t Give A Damn (who majored in Why Waste Time Doing Something When You Can Be Drinking Beer Instead) whose lights are a complete and total and proud buncha blech that they figurately horked up, plugged in, and got the hell on with their lives. Bravo, you bastards.

Because ultimately, it’s not about how much time you vest ( or waste) in the task or how elaborate (or random) the end result. It’s about the light in all its literal and figurative interpretations. It’s about enjoying this all too brief time of Los Angeles when otherwise dark corners and yards and walls and window guards and walkways and whatever all over this city are brightened reminders that Tis The Season To Be Jolly.

So here’s to the vomit lights. Shine on.