You remember that scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, when Clark, after hours of trying to get the lights to work so he can have the best and biggest light display, joins the two power cords and alas! His whole house is covered, every inch, in bright, glorious Christmas lights. And then the meter spins out of control, the whole town loses power, and the nuclear power plant has to start it all back up again. The term for such homeowners who delight in the light display is enthusiastic (hello, understatement). Perhaps you have a neighbor of your own whose entire yard is ablaze with blow-up snow globes, moving parts set to music, and lights of every size, shape, and color in every nook and cranny. Perhaps you are that person.
It’s true, there’s just something magical about lighting displays in the bleak mid-winter months. Temperatures drop along with the hours of daylight and the whole world seems to settle in this hush of peace and quiet. There are whole plots of land in cities across America that put on Festival of Lights pageantry for the public to consume. What could be more romantic than walking hand-in-hand with someone you love under a bridge of color changing lights? Well, that may be a personal preference, but one thing that’s totally un-romantic is catching a glimpse of your electric bill at the end of the holiday season.
On average, one kilo-watt hour costs 11.3 cents. For the typical homeowner decorating a few trees, a wreath, and using minimal decorations and string lights, there will be an extra $11 added to the bill. Not bad. Go one extra mile with the whole house lined in lights and maybe a few trees and you can expect that number to jump to an extra $115/month. Take it to the limit and that cost shoots up to $311. A Month. (Let’s not kid ourselves. We all see you putting up those lights the day after Halloween, if not by October 1st.) That’s almost $1,000 in lights for one season. Enthusiastic is definitely an understatement. So what’s the solution? Give up everything good and holy that brings you joy? Kick to the curb your complete reason for being?! No, the answer is much simpler than that. Make the switch to LEDs.
They’ve been out on the market for awhile now, so you may already have some added to your collection. But if you’re still hanging on to those tried and true behemoth incandescent bulbs that can be see from ISS, maybe this will sway you to change. LED lights use 80-90% LESS energy than their incandescent counterparts. What what whaaaaat?! Yeah. And, the last longer. How much longer? Oh, not much. Only like 100,000 hours compared to the 3,000 hours with traditional christmas lights. How does this translate into tangible differences? A difference you can feel with your hands? How about cold, hard cash. Remember that $311 price tag for one month of lights for the extravagant user? Switching to LED lights brings that total down to just $40/month. You can feed your family again! Other ways to save additional energy and cost are by investing in timers so your lights come on only when it’s dark and run when people are most likely to see them (4-5 hours on average) and extension cords. Combine the two and make sure you’re supplying the proper amount of wattage with your cords and timers to save even more.
The enchantment of Christmas lights don’t have to come at the cost of your wallet or the environment anymore. Make the switch to LED lights and spread the holiday cheer, sans outrageous electric bills.