Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Holiday Guilty Pleasure - Christmas Lights

So if you think of almost any Christmas scene in your mind which brings that nice warm fuzzy feeling to your heart and brings you back to your childhood, you will more likely then not notice that there are at least a few Christmas lights. Now being that I'm constantly trying to do what I can to reduce my carbon footprint and save money at the same time, I am constantly walking around the house turning off lights behind my kids. I always make sure to mention that they left the light on and I had to turn it off for them so we weren't wasting power. I have to admit there are occasions where they catch a light I left, which is annoying and makes be proud at the same time.

So I am really conflicted when it comes to Christmas lights. I grew up with them. It was a holiday tradition at our house growing up to string the lights out on the front bushes and on the roof line. I remember how cool I thought it was when technology came around so that we could have the traveling lights along the roof and twinkling ones in the bushes. Cool stuff for sure. The problem is there is no real need for the lights so really I'm just wasting power to put them out there. But there has to be some joy in life right?

The happy medium for now is that I at least make sure that all the lights we are using are LED lights. This saves quite a bit of power and they don't get as hot at the old style Christmas lights so I don't worry about fires either. That's a win win for sure! I also make sure to have them all plugged into a photocell timer as well. No point in having the lights on at 2 in the morning. If someone happens to drive by the house at 2 and misses out on seeing my lights, I'm OK with that. The photocell timer is pretty cool and I picked it up a few years back for like 2 bucks. It has different settings on it, but the one I use turns on the lights when it gets dark and keeps them on for 8 hours. Really simple, and saves me money. I'm sure it's paid for itself by now!

The new things I've heard about but don't have yet is solar Christmas lights. My understanding is that there is a solar panel of some kind that you put on the roof and let it charge the batteries during the day. Then when it gets dark they kick on and run until the battery dies. I'm not sure how long they are able to run and how bright they are but for me the concept at least is the ultimate in guilt free Christmas displays! I mean if its all solar then why not put up as much as you want and run them as much as you want right? Like I say I'm just not sure how well they actually perform. If possible I'll probably buy at least one set of the solar ones this year and see how they go...so I'll report back.

I'll also put a link to all the kinds of products I've mentioned here below.

So I guess I can't always be the power grinch all the time, even though most of the time it's needed so we can save this planet, so go ahead and deck the halls. Just make sure you are at least using LED Christmas Lights!

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