THERE’S A DEBATE taking place on my sidewalk. Are the green laser lights spewing polka dots across the flat front of our row house a little excessive? The five window boxes are, after all, covered in little white lights, as are the door wreath and the 3-foot-tall gold glittered deer that ambled into the ivy last winter.
Larry says no, he likes it. He’s also a lawyer and likes cats, which is neither here nor there.
Judith rotates the spotlight a bit, spraying more dots into the alley alongside the house. Too much, she says. She’s an architect of some renown so attention should be paid.
But not by me. I’ll go with Larry and the cats. Also the lady wheeling the stroller who calls out, “I love your lights!” as she passes by. That’s the spirit.
If there were ever a time for an excess of sparkle it is now. Not just because ‘tis the season and all that, but don’t we all need great sprinkles of lights? It’s Hanukkah! It’s Christmas! It’s Kwanzaa! It’s the Winter Solstice! It’s the New Year! Democracy dies in darkness.
My green laser lights are a few years old, bought for $200, a gaspingly high sum for me, but a practical investment, if you buy into my notion of practicality. They’re enchanting in the summer, shot down over the back garden from a second-floor window. Kids love them at Halloween, when I plant the little projector in the front yard, spattering dots across the sidewalk for them to stomp.
Now you can get a similar effect for under $30 at Walmart, Target, Home Depot (and Amazon, of course. And you’re no longer confined to a color range that extends from green to red, or confined to dots. There are snowflakes, snow showers and reindeer for winter, shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, hearts for Valentine’s Day and floating balloons for birthdays and whatnot, and plaid for—please tell me why. Some systems even offer multiple seasonally inspired images from the same projector.
They can also be used indoors, lighting a dinner party, or pitched at floor level for some star-studded dancing.
Choosing is probably the most exhausting part. Behold www.buynightstars.com. Installation is a matter of sticking the attached stake in the ground, or a pot, and running an extension cord.
LittleBird “Stephanie Gardens” writes about the Great Outdoors, City Edition, on Thursdays.