Back in the 80's our mayor declared Anchorage a city of lights. He encouraged everyone to put up clear strings of lights, and many did. Flying over Anchorage at that time was breath-taking. Then the Anchorage Daily News began running maps of the most beautiful Christmas displays and for awhile that was nice too. We even had a tradition in our family of going out on Christmas Eve and looking at the displays. Mostly they were bright, but serene, shining into our long dark nights.
But, as my mom used to say, nothing succeeds like excess. Now the displays have become ever more garish and unattractive. Manger scenes have given way to inflated snow globes with Santa and his penguin. The quiet white lights have been replaced with flashing snow flakes and displays that have all the subtlety of a sign over a bar flashing, "Cold Beer" or "Girls"
Many cities have instituted bans on selling spray paint to teens in order to cut down on graffiti which makes urban life so jarring and unpleasant. It may be time to rethink our liberal policies on Christmas displays.
During an earlier spate of Muslim hijackings, Paul Harvey suggested that hijackings would drop to zero if they issued a gun to everyone on the plane. A well -armed populace is a polite populace. In Anchorage, they actually do issue spray paint to anyone who will promise to use it to cover graffiti. What if they gave out strings of lights to people who would promise to use them responsibly to cover their neighbor's ghastly exhibits.