The Non-Expert

What Your Christmas Tree Says About You

Experts answer what they know. The Non-Expert answers anything. This week we address the great American class divider: Are your tree lights white or colored, or even (gasp) blinking?

Have a question? Need some advice? Ignored by everyone else? Send us your questions via email. The Non-Expert handles all subjects and is updated on Fridays, and is written by a member of The Morning News staff.


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Question: My wife’s family decorates the Christmas tree with colored lights. My family uses white lights. It’s our first Christmas together. Seriously, I’m afraid of one side or the other disowning us if we misstep here. —Anonymous

Answer: When I spoke with my aunt the other day, I told her what I’d used to decorate my Christmas tree this year: cigarettes. No, I told her that we used white lights and silver tinsel, but from the way she erupted you’d think I said “ placentas on silver hooks” or “menorahs.”

“Tinsel?” she shouted.“TINSEL?”

My family does not use colored lights. That’s for people who are warm-blooded. At most a sprig of ivy may grace our Labradors’ collars. In the town where I grew up people decorate the grills of their Jeep Wagoneers with wreaths—better for ramming home the Christmas cheer.


My aunt calmed down when I explained I meant those silver ropes of tinsel you dangle around the tree, not the silver tinsel “icicles” people drape one by one on the branches. She sighed and started laughing. I hung up the phone. Our family’s stock hadn’t been sullied by cheap decorations available at stores with enormous parking lots; her heart attack could be avoided for a few more years.

Next year I’m braiding a wreath of placentas and wearing it on my face. Until then, a few thoughts on what your Christmas tree says about you, as in:

A metal pole
need to watch less television
A menorah
are confused
From your neighbor’s yard
should refit it to the stump in January
A 20-foot Fraser fir
have too much money
A four-inch fungus
have too little money
should call the cops
A great kisser
shouldn’t drink at the next office party
The smallest in the lot
are a blockhead
One in a million
are in a forest
Already tossed
are impatient
agree that SNL occasionally gets it right
On fire
should run
do too much yoga
Negging your mel
should wait for the color wheel to switch
Held in place by a dead elf
change the carcass once a week—it’ll keep the reindeer from hanging around
deserve it
need more spirit
The fourth you’ve bought
need less spirit
need therapy
A couch, upended, with a star on top
will need extra seating
should water it
Made of gold
should know that everyone can tell, big boobs
should check the calendar—yep, it’s April
Surrounded by fake presents
work at Crate & Barrel


Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. His latest book is Everything Now: Lessons From the City-State of Los Angeles. More information can be found at More by Rosecrans Baldwin