A guitar sitting on a couch in front of a window.

Decking the Halls. Again. – Michael Morse

by Michael Morse, contributing writer

I thought the bug would spare me this year, but here I am, sitting in my shed, freezing cold, breathing in the fumes from various lawn maintenance machines, running tiny light bulbs through my fingers, looking for the broken link. I could go to Walmart and spend a few bucks, and no doubt eventually will, but for now, the mission is to make these lights work.

All bulbs present and accounted for. Time for Plan B; the fuses. I pry the plastic trap door on the plug open with a crowbar, unwrap the spare bulb and fuse package from the other end of the line and methodically replace those minuscule things.


You would think that forty years of experience would teach me that it’s never the fuse, but no… not me. Every year I do the same thing, waste valuable time trying to fix the unfixable before tossing the entire thing in the trash and buying something new. The thought of throwing a wreath on my front door and calling it a day overwhelms me, and I make the call; one wreath, and Merry Christmas!

I fool myself into believing I have defeated the Christmas Spirit, but this Spirit is mighty, and clever, and relentless. He haunts me every time I leave my house, and see the barren windows bereft of candles, the roofline missing icicle lights and the hibernating grass mocking me, knowing that it won’t be long before spotlights appear, twinkle lights run the fence line and the little elves will escape their storage prison and take their place on my doorstep.

So here I am, in the big box store, the joy and misery surrounding me, the sound of the season assaulting my ears and the prices bringing out my inner Scrooge.

“Five dollars for fifty lights! Are they crazy?”

No, they are not. The crazy one is piling his basket full of five dollar boxes of fifty lights. And another elf, even though the marketing people renamed them Gnomes this year. Gnomes, elves, potatoe, patatto – in the basket he goes.

Hat and gloves on, ladders and extension cords, timers and wire ready the work begins. Days later I sit in my chair, the glow from the other side of the window warming my soul, cars slow as they pass and people walk a little more slowly past my home.

I know it is ridiculous, and I also know that every bit of joy I produce in the hearts of others with my holiday display in some way makes the world we share a little more harmonious and peaceful. That is the gift I give to myself at Christmastime.

And it feels great.

My sincere wishes for a Joyous Holiday Season to every person, big and small.


More stories by Michael Morse, here:



Michael Morse, [email protected], a monthly contributor is a retired Captain with the Providence Fire Department

Michael Morse spent 23 years as a firefighter/EMT with the Providence Fire Department before retiring in 2013 as Captain, Rescue Co. 5. He is an author of several books, most offering fellow firefighter/EMTs and the general population alike a poignant glimpse into one person’s journey through life, work and hope for the future. He is a Warwick resident.

1 Comment

  1. Pamela Marie Azar on November 25, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    This essay is wonderful