In praise of fairy lights

As those that know me (or read my last post) will vouch for, I am an unashamed, out-and- proud ‘Fan of the Fairylights’. For some reason this sounds like a euphemism , not dissimilar to ‘Friend of Dorothy’. This is not coincidental.  My love of Fairylights undoubtedly springs from that same inner Well of Campery that is home to  my unwavering devotion to The Wizard of Oz , Abba and Priscilla Queen of The Desert. It’s my inner gay man. l just can’t help it. 

My favourite fairylights are vintage ones – as a child of the 70’s I remember that sheer joy of coming downstairs to see those fabulous cheap Woolies fairylights twinkling pink turquoise yellow green red  in their plastic diamond-cut cases adorning our battered and rather threadbare silver Christmas tree . Made in Taiwan. Perfect.

Surprisingly you can still pick up a set of these , or something close – just look for the value or budget range in your local MonsterMart and that’s where they’ll be.  Sadly the colours aren’t quite what they used to be  – those soft pinks and yellows and pale greens of my childhood seem to have been replaced with a more garish lowest-common-denominator palette of reds ,electric blues and emerald greens.  Not so good but could be worse. Could be LED.

Don’t start me on LED fairy lights.  I’ll just say that they don’t do it for me.  They don’t float my mardigras boat.  Too cold. Too deserted shopping mall. No heart. Proper fairylights have soul. And bulbs. That you can replace.

I wonder if my love of fairylights says anything in particular?  I find that I can bond instantly with a person over a shared fondness for fairylights. And if you’re the kind of person who leaves them up all year, then that’s it, you’re in , I’ll be your friend for life. Like you know what to the proverbial blanket.  I’m the same with Gardeners – I’ve rarely met a Gardener that I didn’t like. It’s a bit of a benchmark thing.

Same with Fairylights People. 

Are you a Fairylights Person? If so, what are your favourites ? What do you think of LED lights? 

And most importantly : Do you leave them up all year?

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About In a Welsh Garden

Artist,Illustrator,Pro-face and body painter,Blogger and Happy Gardener : )
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14 Responses to In praise of fairy lights

  1. He put up LEDS on the tree this year. Sigh. I think this is the first time, it hasn’t been the same at all….. I have some twiggy things that sit in a vase all year with little white lights on them, bought for Christmas 4 years ago, and they never, ever got taken down…. Will talk sternly to the lighting controller about fairy lights now I know I am not alone 😉

  2. lisa procter says:

    Oh for the love of fairy lights! I’ll be honest, I don’t think I have had such a deep thought about the little lovelies but I love ’em. Yes, the bright multicoloured ones are my fave and although I have white on my tree, I had said that next year, the coloured are what we will have. They will go perfect with the handmade decs from my kiddies. Loo roll flowers, paper trees and birds (I think thats what they are!) and other bits and bobs my son like to throw on it!

    Happy New Year. May it be a good one!!
    xxx

    p.s. I don’t leave them up all year. I kinda feel I should now 😉

  3. Kath says:

    I love fairy lights and I would have them up all year round, woven in labrinthine mesh and hung around the house, trailing down the staircase and bannister and around anything that sat still for too long, but sadly, I’m not allowed them. In fact, we didn’t put up any decorations at all this year… I am traumatised!! But also vowing that NEXT YEAR, my office (at the very least) will be covered with everything glittering and sparkly.

  4. Kath – I am so loving the thought of your ‘labrinthine mesh’ of fairy lights – I would also enjoy such a mesh , although there would be a strong possibility that mine would also qualify as a ‘labrinthine mess ‘ if the rest of our house is anything to go by.

    I am sad about your lack of fairylight-age this year – it is not right; I am worried for you. I am concerned at this veto-ing of said lightage.
    Next year I shall send you a box of said lights as a festive gift. It would be rude not to put them up. Everywhere.

    : )

  5. Hello lovely Lisa @pennycones – I knew that I could count on you as a fellow ‘fan of the fairylights’ .

    I bet your tree looked stunning – LOVE handmade deccies made by tiny hands – I would love to see a piccy of the loo roll flowers,paper trees and birds – they sound fabulous!

    I know exactly what you mean about white lights – I do enjoy a white fairylight, as much as a multicoloured set,but in a different way.

    I am a bit confused on the festive front,I love it all SO much that I can see the merits of so many festive styles – consequently we now have trees in every room (not full size ones you understand, now that would be silly,even for me) to cover every festive base. The bathroom is particularly vintage-kitsch as this seemed like a safe place to give free rein to it : D

    I am wishing you a very Happy New Year.

    And telling you to leave your fairylights up : D XXX

  6. Joanna – we need to talk. I am worried about you and the LEDS. I am going to have to send you out a mercy box of proper fairy lights next year also. I suggest that you get in there and deck the tree with said lights before lovely Mr B gets in there with his LEDS. I am thinking that if you bake him something delicious it may divert his attention away from any potential upset. What do you think?

    : D

  7. Emma says:

    A woman after my own heart. We have 3 sets in the kitchen permanently as well as in the studio & I love them and I agree, they give such a lovely special light & LEDs have no place at ours!

  8. You are too kind! Do you have any idea how stupid I am? Let me tell you…. are you sitting comfortably. So last night there I was with my chocolates, poodles, still wearing three jumpers and lined outdoor trousers, but settling down on the sofa and I looked at the tree in the corner of the room, squinted at the lights flashing away, red blue green yellow in turn, moving to some invisible disco beat, (I know, I know) and I said, casually, those are LEDS aren’t they? Mr B stopped staring vacantly at the TV and said, No, they are all little bulbs and they flash in turn because there is one of each colour at each point on the stringy stuff and that’s why that is so thick. Why do I feel impelled to tell the truth? I think I get some masochistic thrill from admitting I’m an idiot who can’t tell her LEDs from her fairy lights. Sigh. What I really want of course are the live candles that my Danish mother put on the real tree when I was a kid. Now that was something to see, and you never left the room while they were on.

  9. Fairy Lights? Love ’em! Got them all over the house, all year round. Totally agree with you about the retro-colours too…

  10. Eliza says:

    I remember those fairylights too! (I was a child of the fifties) Mum would wait till we were in bed and then decorate the tree. She had the magic touch and it always looked beautiful. The old-fashioned decorations were gorgeous too….. but perhaps children today will look back and feel the same of the present ones.

    You would have an affinity with my eldest son. He’s a computer programmer and, on a visit, he took me to his computer room at home to show me a computer he’d recently built. All round the desk he had draped fairylights…. it was lovely. 🙂

  11. Kylee@boomerang jane says:

    Bless. Were we separated at birth? I have a passion (some say obsession, but pfft) for fairy lights. Mostly the soft white variety. But do love those old fashioned pastels. No, No, No to bright primary colours. Just say no peoples…to LED! Want to wipe out all the character and ambiance from a room?…use LEDs.

    How on earth does one function without the joy of a garland of lights strung in the most unexpected of places? These, for me, are the small unexpected blessings that add so much brightness to my day.

  12. Sarah Lowe says:

    I have never left fairy lights up all year round as i thought they were just for christmas. I love fairy lights but if you leave them up all year round do they look ‘christmassy’? Do you keep any ‘special’ lights just for christmas? And do you think the shaded light sets that Pifco used to make were more ‘christmassy’ than the modern ones of today? Love to hear peoples views on them. And i also detest led lights. They have no character. Sarah

  13. I am an unabashed fairy lights lover. Love them.

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro!

  14. Thankyou oh lovely Life in a Pink Fibro – and guess who only just remembered to re-enable comments on old posts late yesterday (Sunday)? That would be me,doh. But never mind,I am loving your rewinds at the fibro and have visited some fab blogs : )

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