Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blue Light Special

The Watkins family considers itself to be somewhat "crunchy," "tree-hugging," "green," and any other dirt-implying adjective used to describe people who believe in global warming and not littering.

Okay. Maybe we take it a step farther. Yes, we use cloth diapers, make our own baby food, grow our own vegetables, recycle, compost kitchen scraps, buy energy star appliances, drive a hybrid. And yes, at Christmas we use LED lights.
Here's where I'm going to be brutally honest and say that I can't stand our Christmas lights. I cringe when I see them. Truly. Not only do they harshly clash with our lovely incandescent faux candles in the windows, but they really seem to make the cold nights colder. I mean, come on! We don't put hundreds of lights on our house to save money, we do it for purely aesthetic reasons! What is the point of stringing up lights you can stand to look at? Oh wait...the alternative is to have no lights up for Christmas because you don't want to be a yuletide hypocrite and string up energy-guzzling traditional lights? Um, that's not an option for me. I am nothing if not unapologetically and ruthlessly festive.

When we bought our lights last year, no stores in town carried the then-hard-to-find "warm white" LED strings. So we shrugged and bought the "cool white." The only two houses in our neighborhood decked out in the icy, bluish hues were ours and the electrician down the street. And of course, after laying out a ton of not-so-cool cash on lights, we couldn't just yank them down and rethink our commitment to the cause. Sure, THIS year all of the stores are now stocking the warm whites. Buy more lights, you say? Well while that might be feasible at the incandescent price of $1.99 per 100 lights, it's not so much at $11.99 per 60 LED lights. Bill promises me that next year we can save up and splurge on the warm whites, but this year it's blues or nothing. Besides, he says, we're making a statement!

And he's right. This year it looks like more folks have jumped on the enviro-friendly--albeit blueish--bandwagon as there are now THREE houses in our neighborhood with cool white LEDs and several more with colored LEDs (including one for-real blue LED house). Was it our awkwardly clashing and kind of ghoulish display last year that convinced them? Probably not. But I'm sure that, like me, once they saw that they wouldn't be the only weirdos on the block with an eye on the electric bill, it was slightly more okay. So after much inner turmoil and mind-changing, I decided to throw up the blue-tinted white flag and stick with the statement-making LEDs. For one more year.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go hug my trees and make another batch of granola.

1 comment:

  1. I'm just so proud that you guys have lights up! I *could* claim that we, too, are making an environmental statement by *not* putting up lights, but that would just be a lie...they're still in the boxes in the garage. Maybe next year...