Once again this year, as seems to be an ongoing trend, my husband missed his opportunity to put up our Christmas lights while the weather was still mild. Each year, I sweetly remind him of the seemingly perfect chance to get this seasonal decorating task out of the way, during the last warm break in the weather. I certainly do not envy him, as he invariably ends up climbing his ladder to hang icicle lights along the second floor eave while the snow is falling and worry about the possibility of a mis-step. Should he stumble or fall, it would likely put him further behind on his "Honey Do" list!
In all seriousness, I can appreciate his reticence, as he the holiday task he dislikes even more than placing the light strands is sorting through the tangled strands of lights after pulling them from our Christmas decor totes, only to discover a number of them are either not lighting this year or have countless spent bulbs.
This year, however, while providing a bit of moral support as my husband tackled untangling our holiday lights, I realized my family has been missing an opportunity to green up our eco footprint! I remembered a recent news report sharing that our local electric company would be allowing customers to exchange their traditional Christmas lights for more energy efficient LED Christmas lights! Although we may have missed our opportunity to take advantage of free decorative light sets, there would not be a better time than now to purchase energy saving sets, especially after surveying the number of challenged sets in our stock.
Over 20 million pounds of discarded holiday lights
are recycled every year! 1
Twenty millions pounds! It is a challenge to even wrap my mind around that quantity. While I am glad to know that so many Christmas lights are recycled, it certainly gives one pause to consider the possible quantity that are not recycled and definitely the amount of energy spent in the recycling process. My family has been actively changing out other standard light bulbs in our home for more energy efficient bulbs, however, with the holiday light sets tucked away, I had not even thought of improving those to green sets. My curiosity piqued, I explored a bit at Energy.gov to learn more about the benefits of LED holiday lights.
Safer, Sturdier, Longer Lasting, Easier To Install
LED holiday lights can last up to 40 seasons
and cost a mere fraction of the cost of traditional holiday lights to operate. 2
Of course, this welcome green discovery only serves to motivate me to consider other ways we can save around the house by making more green lighting uipgrades. We certainly have other outdoor lighting fixtures that are in use more frequently, such as our front entrance fixture and the flood lights in our backyard. Installing a new fixture at our home's entrance is certainly on my husband's "Honey Do" list and presents the perfect opportunity to select an Energy Star model.
To replace all our outdoor fixtures and bulbs, particularly the larger ones might be a costly undertaking, however the sooner we make the green changes, the sooner we will reap the rewards and begin to recoup our savings. Particularly with cost savings on lighting in mind, as with so many of our home remodeling purchases, we might find a way to benefit our budget by searching for wholesale LED prices and make the switch in one fell swoop.
Of course, with as much difficulty as I have in motivating the husband to tackle our seasonal outdoor lighting needs, I might have more success in saving the outdoor lighting conversion until spring, rather focusing on our interior green improvement opportunities. With two upper baths painfully sporting loud and large light bars circa 1980, I would be more than pleased for an energy efficient LED lighting upgrade to be focused in these rooms that will be more visible to both myself and my guests through the winter season! If only I could decide on the perfect Energy Star Bath Bar to replace the beastly fixtures!
Ten Easy Ways To Green Up Holiday And Home
Swap out holiday light sets for energy efficient LED sets
Reuse boxes and packing to ship holiday gifts
Select gifts that are created with post-consumer product and are recyclable
Add organic ingredients to your holiday recipes
Purchase an Energy Star fixture or appliance as a family gift
Stumped for a gift idea?
Make a donation to a green organization in your recipient's name
Save holiday greeting cards to use as decoration on wrapped gifts
Purchase a potted live pine instead of a cut Christmas Tree
Support eco-responsible retailers
Make a family resolution to green up one new area in your lives or home
each month in the new year
Do you have any eco-friendly holiday tips?
What might your family do in the new year to green up?
Tell me in a comment below! I'd love to hear your thoughts!
The opinions above are both honest and of my own experiences. 1 - Adam Minter, "The Chinese Town That Turns Your Old Christmas Tree Lights Into Slippers" The Atlantic, Dec 21, 2011 2 - Energy.gov Images sourced from Amazon.com retailers. My disclosure policy.