Christmas Extremists save money.
Have you ever looked at your electric bill for the month and fainted? No? Well, if you were too look at it and see that hanging Christmas lights were causing it to sky rocket, maybe you would.
In the month of December, celebrations are everywhere. Whether the celebration was Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or Christmas there was something for everyone. Decorations even flood the stores and neighborhoods to keep up holiday cheer.
The only problem with this decor are the skyrocketing monthly bills. According to Chris Want of Mission Viejo, his lights used to up his electric bill by almost $500.
“It only slightly raises our bill now,” Want said. “It used to be $500 but now its only around $200 since we have upgraded to LED lights.”
According to an article written by the Department of Energy and titled “The History of the Light Bulb,” the LED light was first invented in 1962. Later in the article they mention how these light bulbs really never became popular until late 2009.
So, before the LED light bulbs were being used, people used energy-greedy fluorescent light bulbs. That’s a big change to make. Throwing away old light bulbs, buying more, and hoping it is enough to save money on electric costs.
“Instead of a bulb being a couple watts, now a whole string is a couple watts,” Bill S. went on to explain
This change has been on the rise and today a majority of houses are LED lights. Including, the huge elaborately decorated Christmas houses we saw this past December.
In the city of Mission Viejo, every year there a light competition is held. A couple of the winners were eager to talk and share their masterpieces. Bill S., had a light show that coincided with the book Secret Garden and the Wants used only handmade decorations.
Bill S. claims that his wife does all of the work and together it took approximately four or five years to get all the different parts. He also stated that the change to LED was a crazy time for him and his wife because they would get mixed up in which lights they were planning to use and which they were getting rid of. All in all, he is glad the LED switch has been finished.
“I do not know why I am talking to you, my wife did all the work,” Bill S. said. “She is in the shower so I guess I get to take all the credit.”
The Wants only use handmade decorations. The husband uses ideas he sees from pinterest or television to create new decor. They are all made from wood, hand carved and painted. A signature piece for them is the “Seal pool.” Their son had drawn it from forgetting to do his homework and his family loved it.
“It started as a joke actually,” said Mrs. Want. “We sorta made the seal replicate our family and who we are, but our son drew up the entire idea. I like it because it is special and it is a decoration we truly had the opportunity to do together.”
Their son had a project to do at school, and forgot to bring his cover page with him. In doing so, he quickly drew one up to turnitin. After finishing it, he took a picture and sent to their family group chat where their minds started spinning and another decoration was in the works.
Decorating their house became a holiday tradition for them, and with LED lights they were able to drastically change their outcome. From collecting over the years, to reach the perfect design or story, to just adding spontaneously, lights do not have to be expensive.
Some families save their lights, others hoard them, but some continue to buy new ones every year. Business Insider wrote an article stating that “Americans will spend a whopping $6 billion on Christmas decorations.” If every American bought new lights, they would spend on average 18 and a half dollars. That is if 6 billion was evenly spread upon 325.7 million Americans.
Not only is the cost of the lights expensive, but buying new strands and having professionals put them up can be expensive as well.
“Homeowners pay $403 for professional installation of their exterior holiday lighting, with a typical range between $202 and $604,” according to Home Advisor in 2018. “The light strands alone cost between $80 and $300.”
These families are able to save pennies to their pockets, by collecting their lights over the years, switching to LEDs and by putting them up together and creating memories. That extra $403 can be spent on more decor, or even extra gifts for the family.
As much Christmas cheer as decor can bring, for some it does quite the opposite. The easiest way to save money on decor this holiday season? Well, do not put any up at all.
“My HOA puts regulations on what we can decorate with, just like they have rules hor house colors and such,” Lakewood resident, Pearl Redding stated.
In an article written by MSN titled, “Can Your HOA Regulate Your Holiday Decor?” they discuss in detail how your right to decorate is an expression. Only it is not the type protected by the first amendment, it is really subject to perception.
HOA’s can subject to only white lights, or no inflatables, and so on. This really limits the extremists ability to well, be extreme. The article recommends being light hearted and not being too extreme in order to avoid disturbing the neighbors.
“A classic look for the holiday is most likely to guarantee a favorable reaction from neighbors, and that doesn’t mean you have to stifle your creativity,” the MSN article reads.
After talking to both the Wants and to Bill S., they seem quite positive their neighbors are not bothered by their extreme light fest. The Wants turn off their lights pretty early due to being a family friendly neighborhood, and for Bill S. he faces a dark park but still has an automatic timer for them every night.
During the holidays, the money spent can often be overlooked. Whether on the altogether price of lights. For the Wants, they estimate maybe $1,000 altogether but that includes wood slabs and paints to create their masterpieces and for Bill S. he claimed around $500 after light exchanging and the extra decorations.
The holidays are known for family time and creating memories. This holiday think about saving some money as you store your extra lights, and spend a little extra time putting them up instead of forking out extra cash.