From the 60 Minutes archive: Andy Rooney on Christmas decorations

"Good Christmas decorations are better than bad Christmas decorations, but even bad Christmas decorations are better than none at all."

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The late Andy Rooney had strong opinions about Christmas decorations, and he wasn't shy about sharing them with his viewers.


The following is a script of "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney" which aired on December 22, 1996.

I rate Christmas decorations on a scale of one to 10. Tonight we have our first annual, nationwide CBS 60 Minutes survey. We asked cameramen around the country to take pictures of Christmas trees and Christmas decorations in their area.

How'd you like to live next door to this? These people in New Jersey must own stock in the power company--clearly a one. 'Honey, don't forget to turn the lights out when you come to bed.'

These people, on the other hand, were either lazy or could only afford to light one side of their tree--three, maybe.

If there were a competition for the grossest Christmas decoration of all, this house in Dallas might be the winner. As if the decorations weren't bad enough, sometimes the owner has Christmas music blaring out night and day--"Silent Night," probably.

You can tell the difference between a Texas Christmas decoration and one in California. In California, the snowmen are blue.

This is what I call a good Christmas tree--an eight or nine. 

People outline the windows and roofs of homely homes with lights. I don't care much for lights that blink or for running lights. Looks more like a theater marquee. Christmas lights should be still. 

Santa Claus or reindeer on the roof are popular. 

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Christmas decorations from 1996

In Washington, the national tree in front of the White House is an actual growing tree, but it doesn't look like a tree anymore. Probably decorated by a decorator.

In Rockefeller Center, they find a tree growing in someone's yard, cut it down and bring it to New York. It isn't as natural as it looks because it's a construction job. They stick in extra branches where it's sparse. The tree dies, but what a way to go. When they finish, though, the Rockefeller Center tree is very nice, an eight, better-looking by far than the national tree.

The biggest mistake you can make with a tree is putting too much on it. A Christmas tree shouldn't look too symmetrical either. I'd give this a three.

On Park Avenue in New York, they decorate the islands that separate the street with trees for 50 blocks--very tastefully done, a ten.

Stringing lights on ordinary trees has become popular. At its best it's good. At its worst, it's terrible. These lights look as though they were thrown on. It's a mistake to try to decorate a tree like this at all. This is CBS. They were among the first to do this. Competition across town is doing it now. You get a two, ABC.

Well, I like all of them, even the bad ones. They make us feel better. Good Christmas decorations are better than bad Christmas decorations, but even bad Christmas decorations are better than none at all.