Headache number one: Spending 30 minutes untangling 20 feet of holiday light strings and then plugging them in to discover they’re burnt out or on the fritz. Headache number two: the not-so-merry jump in energy costs associated with keeping traditional incandescent bulb holiday lights twinkling (according to a recent article published in the Chicago Tribune, holiday lighting adds an average of $13 to $15 to a monthly electric bill). All this is enough for aspiring Clark Griswold’s to overdo it on the boozy eggnog in a fit of despair or forgo light displays completely.

Thanks to a rise in popularity of light-emitting diodes -- LED to us laypeople -- more and more festive folk don’t have to fade to black. LED holiday lights are pretty easy to find -- check out big boxers like Home Depot and Sears or specialty retailers such as EcoGeekLiving and HolidayLEDs -- and although they may carry a higher price tag, they last a whole lot longer than their energy-sucking incandescent brethren -- boasting a 50,000 hour bulb life -- making these energy-sipping sparklers an investment that keep going and going and going…

Better yet, many LED holiday light brands carry ENERGY STAR certification and perhaps the biggest boon of LEDs: the bulbs are cool to the touch, keeping kids, pets, and the clumsy (we're speaking out of experience) safe.

And how will America’s most iconic Christmas tree be dressed this year? The Norway Spruce at Rockefeller Center -– a certified “Smart Tree” -- will be decked out in over 30,000 LED powered by photovoltaic panels. Now talk about green trees...

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

You light up my life
LED holiday lights are a bright idea for those strung out over the eco-woes of incandescent bulbs.