I’m not a fan of fireworks. It is difficult to enjoy the show when all I see is money exploding in the sky. As I watch I try to guess how much each burst of color cost. And it quickly becomes depressing.
That being said, I enjoy going to baseball games that feature a postgame fireworks show. Why? Because the vast majority of the crowd stays to watch the pyrotechnics and that results in light traffic as I leave the ballpark.
Outdoor Christmas decorations (to be politically correct maybe I should say winter holiday decorations) do not bother me unless they are grossly in excess. As a kid I found Christmas lights more enticing than fireworks.
I thought about this on Monday as I walked home from campus. The afternoon was preparing to change into evening, the temperature was cold (I normally walk home in the dark, but my stats class wrapped up early that day, so a bit of light remained). During the walk I decided that my preference for Christmas lights over fireworks can be traced to these reasons:
Season. Christmas lights signify the presence of the cold season holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Parties, presents, and all sorts of fun. I do not associate fireworks with a particular holiday. Yes, they are common on the 4th of July, but I’ve seen more non-4th of July fireworks shows than 4th of July fireworks shows. Fireworks are associated loosely with the summer, but it is a weak association because I frequently went entire summers without seeing fireworks.
Duration. Watching fireworks feels like eating with chopsticks to me. Lots of effort for little payoff. The dramatic sights are elusive. A particularly nice explosion is there and gone, leaving a void. You have no idea what is coming up next. Christmas lights are consistent. When it is dark they are lit. They don’t disappear for extended periods of time, making you wonder if the show is over. You can savor them, see what they have to offer, then move on.
Cost. Christmas lights have a cost, and when coupled with the electricity bill I’m sure it is more than pocket change. But the cost of a humble assortment of lights pales in comparison to a fireworks show.
Noise. I’m not a fan of loud noises. Christmas lights tend to be quieter than fireworks.
So if you host an ultimate cage fight in your mind which emerges victorious, Christmas lights or fireworks?