I'm not sure what sparked the early arrival of Christmas decorations, but driving to and from Atlanta for Thanksgiving last week, I opted for back roads, and through each small town, I counted at least 10 residences that already had Santas, icicle lights, wreathes and bows adorning the front yards and home facades. What was more shocking than the premature appearance of these decorations (not to mention the Christmas displays in stores and commercials on TV prior to Halloween) was the extreme lengths people had taken to obviously out do their neighbors.
This is no new phenomenon as folks have been escalating their visible holiday cheer for years. I've always been partial to candles in the window and a nice wreath spot lighted on the front door, but if your sense of decor isn't like mine, perhaps this Christmas the idea of saving a little money and energy might persuade you to limit the front yard's display.
Not only does over doing the decorations look tacky but it is a tremendous strain on energy consumption and will leave families footing the bill long after the presents are unwrapped on Christmas morning.
Experts at Christmas Lights & Decorations say, "most holiday energy is consumed by Christmas lights and decorations, and the easiest way to conserve in your home during the holidays is to monitor your energy consumption.
"With energy costs continually on the rise, a single home could be looking at using thousands of extra kilowatts and spending more than an additional $100 a month on energy simply with the addition of Christmas lights to the décor. By using fewer lights, and bulbs that are more energy efficient, you can cut your energy consumption by more than 80% and save a bundle on your hydro bill."
Here are a few tips for saving energy this Christmas season
- Use LED lights instead of energy intensive incandescent lights. They may be more expensive but last longer, use up to 80% less energy, and are shatterproof, shock proof, and cool to the touch.
- Use non-electric decorations such as such as wreaths, garlands, stockings and tinsel.
- Use a timer. Putting your Christmas lights on a timer is a great way of saving energy. A timer helps avoid lights staying on when you are not home, during the day or all night if you forget to turn them off.
But if you still feel the urge to light up your house so it's visible from the International Space Station, take a cue from America's classic family, the Griswolds. One of my favorite movies this time of year, Christmas Vacation.