Thursday, June 22, 2017 This Week's Paper

How to have a Griswold Christmas – Pt. 2

// Build a campfire out of lights

Some years back, the Zoolights geniuses realized they had left one artful spot of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium unlit. The spot, on a patch of lawn near the entrance, features a free-form sculpture of a family. Even National Lampoon’s Clark Griswold, a man from whom no roof is safe from illuminated plastic reindeer, would have seen the problem: The sculpture is simple, evocative, tasteful. You couldn’t drape the figures in elf costumes made out of mesh lights. You might get away with that at the Dub Dub sculpture - he was a ham of a seal. But not this family. You couldn’t surround them in palm trees, or have a herd of possums snarling at them. Ah, but you could give them the warmth of a solstice bonfire. It was so simple; they could not believe they’d overlooked it. They built their bonfire out of a pile of lights – yellow, red and orange, and a shot of purple – with the flicker option turned on. They arranged them with the deepest colors at the base. By day, they are a wide, shallow pile of light strands. By night, they are a crackling LED blaze. This is décor that relies on accessories. If you do not have a tasteful statue of a happy family, you can inflate your plastic snowmen in a circle around it. Or, since snowmen and a toasty fire are mortal enemies, you can build a tableau in which they are fleeing from it. You can put gnomes near it, roasting marshmallows, snowflakes, or whatever cynical, dangerous gnomes cook over an open fire. You can have Santa and the team stopping by to warm their hands and hooves. Or you can construct a warning for the neighborhood kids: Elves tossing Christmas wish lists stamped “NAUGHTY” into the fire.

You will need:

• Your least favorite fire-colored lights.
• An extension cord.

That’s it! Arrange the lights as described above and you’ll have your very own, homemade holiday campfire.