One of the traditional holiday decor items of my childhood was a plastic candelabra with orange bulbs. Each window of our house got one and it was my sister 's and my job to run around turning them on at dusk and then off before bed. Every Christmas Eve, we were allowed to leave our candelabra on during the night. As a neurotic child prone to insomnia, I loved this. The warm orange glow in my room was the bonfire that kept back the scary creatures of the night that were for sure lurking just beyond its light, ready to spring. I'm a neurotic adult now, prone to insomnia, and have to keep my bedroom pitch black or sleep eludes me. But tonight, this winter solstice night, I will keep the tree lights burning, my own ancient bonfire holding back the darkness.