Call me what you will — Scrooge, wet blanket, hater, the bah humbuggy blogger who stole Christmas — but holiday scenes like the ones pictured above and below tend to make me think of global warming rather than good tidings; carbon footprints rather than Christmas cheer. Sure, there's an undeniable "wow" factor to a genuine, over-the-top holiday yard display, but for me that "wow" is generally short-lived and overruled by thoughts along the lines of "good lord, I wonder what their electric bill is like?"
Initially, I was going to make this post an extensive photo gallery of “egregiously electricity-wasting holiday light displays” but I thought I’d open it up to you to see what you
think about the time-honored holiday tradition of outrageously lit-up houses.
There’s no doubt that homeowners who really go to town when festooning their homes with holiday lights don’t have an environmentally malignant design in mind — it’s all about spreading holiday cheer, snarling traffic, and perhaps a bit of neighborly competitiveness — but when you realize that the electricity consumed by these exterior illumination displays could power a small village for an entire month, a question begs to be asked: “couldn't this be toned down a bit?”
In a recent article published in The Guardian
, environmental columnist Lucy Siegle points out that “extravagant light displays” (think of something Griswaldian
, not just a couple of strands of twinkling lights wrapped around a front hedge) are responsible for an extra 400 kg (over 880 pounds) of CO2 emissions and add in the ballpark of £75 to £100 (around $120 to $160) to a household electricity bill. Homes with more modest light displays can expect to see something more like a $15 spike in electricity costs.
Yikes. So what do you think? Should merry but extravagant-to-the-point-of-eyesore Christmas light displays be restricted or even totally banned by municipalities? Or are they a sacred tradition that should not be tampered with?
Have you toned down your own home holiday light displays in recent years and switched over to more expensive but energy-efficient (they use 90 percent less energy than incandescent Christmas lights do) and long-lasting (about 50,000 hours) LED Christmas lights? Or have you totally gone the way of non-illuminated Christmas decorations?
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. For more on the topic, check out this illuminating post over at Get Energy Smart Now
The green grinch
The energy-guzzling Christmas light display is one holiday tradition that makes this generally festive blogger cringe. How do you feel about Griswald-esque lawn