During the day, it’s evident, at least under close scrutiny, that our home has many needs: it needs painting and new siding. We really should do something about the windows at some point. (But I like the old, wavy glass from 1920, as well as those costly to replace “true divided lights.”) None of this matters, though, as dusk falls every evening in December. With the click of a switch in the basement, the house gleams newly white and clean. Instead of highlighting flaws, the light, like the true light of Christmas, makes them disappear. All dreariness, all weariness, is erased. The effect is simple and pretty. One month each year, we get to live with light in the darkness. And we decide, yet again, that no home improvements are necessary for a while.