Christmas Lights — Get The LED Out

by Katy on December 10, 2008 · 2 comments


Christmas Lights

As the Non-Consumer Advocate, I usually recommend for people to buy used or not buy at all. (I follow The Compact, a buy nothing new movement.) But I am going to break from my normal stance and suggest a new purchase:

LED Christmas lights.

LED lights use a fraction of the electricity of the old style larger bulbs. Enough, so that it is actually worth investing in these energy saving lights. (I consider this to be in the same can’t-buy-it-used category as CFL lightbulbs.)

Also, I want everyone to consider whether it’s worth the extra electricity to electrically decorate the outside of your house to the point that gamblers show up looking for slot machines. 

I’m not saying to you shouldn’t put up Christmas lights, but perhaps it’s just as pretty to have just a few. Usually, less is more.

I hung some Goodwill purchased, (99 cents for a whole box!) blue and silver glass ornament balls from a window box on the front of the house. It’s very pretty and uses no electricity.

Go ahead and switch to LED bulbs. You won’t see a spike in this year’s December electric bill, (and you won’t have to deal with hoards of drunken gamblers.)

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

lala2074 December 12, 2008 at 12:04 am

A few years ago, in my “pre-Compact” days, we spent about $500 purchasing Christmas decorations to decorate our huge “McMansion” house. We thought that we were getting into the Christmas spirit, and every single house in our new neighbourhood had their houses covered in Christmas lights, decorations, Santas, reindeers, all lit up.
A few years on, and now with my anti-consumer sensibilities, and now living in a much smaller house and a more environmentally aware neighbourhood, we have put up a few well chosen lights, on the Christmas tree and a snowflake on the lounge room wall, as well as some icicle lights in my daughter’s bedroom. We have reused our non-electric decorations from previous years, like a cutout Santa at the front door, and a vase of pretty coloured glass baubles and a bowl of shiny metall bells. Any children who come to our house go straight to the shiny metal bells to ring them and run their hands through them!


CanadianKate December 12, 2008 at 10:50 am

I’ve been struggling with the want to buy two more strings of LEDs and have decided not to.

I have 3 strings of 5w bulbs on my balcony off the side of the house, 2 strings of LED framing the steps up onto my porch and 2 strings of mini bulbs that hang along the garland across the railing of the porch.

The mini lights and the LEDs are multicoloured but because of the way the light projects, the LEDs only show red and blue from the street. So there is a ‘mis-match’ on the front of the house and it bugs me.

My plan was to buy 2 more strings of LED to match the ones I have now, move the mini lights to the balcony and ‘retire’ the 5w bulbs.

BUT, I have two boxes of replacement bulbs for the 5w still to use up. And the porch railing will probably be removed next year (due to rotting) and not replaced (it is only 12″ off the ground) thus I won’t need the mini lights there next year.

So I’ve chosen to ignore the mismatch this year and not buy new.

When lights have to be replaced (either due to breaking or running out of replacement bulbs), I’ll pick more energy efficient but the cost savings are negligible and the damage to the environment by causing the production of something new, plus sending the old lights to landfill are against my standards of behaviour.

The balcony lights use the same amount of energy as 2 60w and 1 100w lightbulbs. I can afford to run those for 6 hours a night for the 40 days I have lights on (First Sunday of Advent to Epiphany.)


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