When I was a child, I used to do this thing around Christmastime. I’d squint my eyes, making my eyelashes connect and make the lights on the Christmas trees diffuse. Doing this involuntarily made me smile. I would run around telling my parents, “This is my Christmas Tree Smile!” I would accompany it with and little high-pitched “eeeeee” sound. I thought I made the lights do that, cruciform points shining off of them. I thought when I did it, my parents could see it too. That process, alongside poor, shortsighted glances of traffic on I-20, left me with a deep love of lights in soft focus.
A film that gets to the root of why we like Christmas lights, what they mean as cheap ornamentation over capitalist excess, what they mean as small beacons of kindness and goodwill toward each other, the Hallmark-card metanarrative attempted in real life. Between cynicism and the deep need for interpersonal warmth, this film arrives.