The holiday season hits me like a swing from a coal-filled stocking once CVS starts playing Christmas carols the day after Halloween; the pressure alone could turn that coal into a diamond. Many of us spend the next two weeks struggling to manage seasonal stress like underfed reindeer pulling a giant, gift-laden sleigh.
Americans have spent decades trying to make the holidays more manageable. My siblings and I grew up circling pictures in the Sears catalog for Santa (How had he grown so lazy? And brand-loyal?) while buying pre-filled stockings for our dog. Soon enough, Christmas trees were coming out of the box already decorated and the Hanukah candles pre-lit. (I might be wrong on that last one; I have to get my shopping done and don’t have time to research it.) However, nothing symbolizes our frustrated attempts to maximize yuletide efficiency more than the evolution of holiday lighting.