Blinkin’ Fairy Lights

By Amy Chavez

For The Bali Times

I don’t usually argue – except with Christmas lights. You’ve probably argued with Christmas lights before, too. Every year you open the box of lights from the year before with that glimmering hope that they’ll still work. After wrestling with tangled electric wires for 15 minutes, you plug them in for a test, then curse all the burned-out bulbs. Have you ever wondered why regular household light bulbs last six months to a year but Christmas lights last only one season? I’ve discovered why: Christmas lights have no Christmas spirit.

I came to this conclusion after this year’s argument with the Christmas lights. These are the lights I put around my windows.

Me: “All right, this year you bulbs are going to work!” I plug them in for a test.

Christmas lights: “Sorry, this year we’ve decided not to blink.”

Yellow bulb: “Several bulbs are quitting this year. The rest of us are just going to give off a faint glow.”

Me: “What do you mean quitting? You only have to work once a year.”

Blue bulb: “Hey, this is my second year toeing the line here.”

Me: “I don’t think so, Mr. Blue Bulb. I bought this whole string at the end of last year.”

Blue light: “You don’t believe me? Fine.” Poof!

Me: “Oh, C’mon; it’s Christmas. You have an important role here. Your light is supposed to represent life! Like the star that shone on baby Jesus when he was born.”

Green bulb: “Yeah, but that star didn’t have to blink. It only had to twinkle. Have you ever tried blinking? It’s exhausting.”

Me: “Well, why don’t you try twinkling for a change, then, Mr. Green Bulb?”

Green bulb: “No thanks.” Poof!

White bulb: Flicker, flicker, poof!

Orange bulb: “I was made in Japan. I’m Buddhist.” Poof!


Purple bulb: Poof!

Pink bulb: Poof!

Red bulb: Poof!

So much for even a faint glow.

I went to the department store to buy new Christmas lights. I passed up the Buddhist bulbs and bought some made in China. There are a lot of Christians in China, aren’t there?

The Balinese don’t even know how lucky they are to be Hindu and thus able to avoid all this. Furthermore, they don’t have to worry about assembling gifts on Christmas Day. After finding out recently that electric cords and plugs are often sold separately in Indonesia, I can imagine what people would have to go through to assemble, say, a child’s tricycle:

Vroom-Vroom Child’s Tricycle. Contents of box: one tricycle frame. Seat, handlebars; pedals not included. Wheels sold separately. Optional extras: nuts and bolts.

Assembly instructions: Saw off the tricycle frame to fit the size of your child; then paint it his favorite color. Attach the wheels, seat, pedals and handlebars. Solder together any parts left hanging. For children up to 2 years old.

To accommodate children over two years, or older brothers and sisters, try our optional upgrade kit, which allows you to: replace the tricycle tires with tractor tires, replace handlebars with a custom leopard print steering wheel and add a two-stroke motor. Helmets and seat belts not included. Driver’s license sold separately.

For older brothers and sisters, try our optional upgrade kit that allows you to convert your monster tricycle into an airplane. Wings not included. Landing gear sold separately. Flight attendants optional. Tip: Use last year’s Christmas lights for runway lights. Note: For Indonesian residents, pilot’s license not necessary.

When I got home from the store, I put up the new Christmas lights around the window. They worked perfectly. The only thing left to do was to put up the Christmas tree.

We have one of those little Christmas trees that comes in a box. I never argue with the Christmas tree, even though I swear it shrinks every year. As I took out the Christmas lights for the tree, I had that glimmering hope the lights would still work. I plugged them in for a test. Hooray!

In a few minutes, the tree was decorated and the lights were happily blinking. Now that’s the Christmas spirit.

Then … poof!

I hope this first year of Bali Lite wasn’t too much of a boar for you, and I sincerely hope you’ll join me to take the Mickey out of next year, too.

Filed under: The Island

Comments are closed.