Christmas Tree I Don’t Understand


Okay, so Janis won and her decorations are going to be used this year — because for all I know it’s normal for couples who’d been married to one another for all their adult lives to each have their own decorations — but then is what we’re looking at in the final panel (and Arlo is equally happy with) actually the tree with Janis’s decorations?


  1. The decorated tree makes them happy regardless of who gets to decide what goes on it. As with my spouse we can disagree on the decorations without being miserable about the final result.

  2. I assumed the contest was to see who had to untangle the two sets of lights (both of which would be used?).

    I mean, lights are just lights, but work is WORK.

  3. White (Janice) vs. multicolored (Arlo) lights. They settle on using both – multicolored with white border.

  4. My take was that they were only untangling one box and Arlo’s mess [the bigger & colored ones] prevailed. Janice’s look smaller and clear. But, per Mark M, they’re both happy with the end result.

  5. Mr. Grumpy is right. Arlo’s bulbs, the big ones, not those teeny tiny ones. And even Janis has to admit that big ones are better.

  6. Also, I think Janis’s lights are single colour (white) and Arlo’s multi-coloured. Arlo is happy to have won the contest cos he is a Man and it is a Manly thing to untangle the lights and put them up (not to mention it is Manly to win stupid contests), and Janis is happy that Arlo thinks that putting some lights up is a Manly thing to do so she lets him get on with it and can sit back. Everyone’s a winner!

  7. “But what is the joke?”

    Normally, adults don’t solve problems by acting like children (that tends to make them worse). But here, it worked.

  8. I think if Arlo had lost the worm-pigeon-shotgun game he would now be grumpy that he didn’t get to put the lights up and Janis would be grumpy that she had to, so then they would both have lost.

    Worm-Pigeon-Shotgun explained here on WILTY?:

  9. In Would I Lie To You?, if you haven’t seen it, randomly the cards the guest read out have a TRUE bit of text (an event that has really happened to them) and some have a LIE. Before they turn over and read out the card they don’t know what is on it, and though they obviously know their own TRUE anecdotes, they will have never seen the LIE texts before and have to make up the details on the spot in response to the other teams interrogation. The trick is for guests to make their TRUE anecdotes seem sufficiently odd to be plausibly implausible and their LIE answers sufficiently truthful-sounding to be plausibly true; the opposing team have to decide whether each story is TRUE or a LIE.

  10. I don’t think it’s a “joke” so much as a “heartwarming.”

    Arlo wants colored lights, and pulls them out. Janis wants white lights, and pulls them out. They RPS it, Arlo wins; they use the colored lights.

    But they’re both equally happy, because the actual question of which lights go on the tree is entirely trivial, and they are together with a Christmas tree, happy with each other no matter which way it went.

  11. True story: As a kid we had a Rock/Paper’Scissors game. It was a little plastic gizmo with levers on opposite sides, so each of the two players could select rock, paper or scissors without the person opposite seeing it. One both players set their levers, they’d drop a marble into a hole on top of the gizmo and it would come out on the side of the winner. It was some time later that I learned you didn’t need a plastic gizmo to play the game, and I often wondered why our folks saw a need to buy it.

  12. ianosmond has it right I think.

    My wife and I have the same debate every year. I like colored lights, she likes the little white one. We take turns, rotating between the two.

  13. We have only color lights on the inside tree. Outside some bushes/trees have one or the other – more or less the same year to year. Next door neighbor has real nice lights – I have to ask her – I think they are the ones on a net and are LEDs.

    Never put the lights on an outside bush close to the ground if it next to the driveway. The snowblower will suck them up, they will roll up around parts of same and it will be a mess to deal with.

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