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Christmas Lights Rambling November 19, 2007

Posted by pf in Frugality, Uncategorized.

Yesterday, I began the not so jolly process of hanging Christmas lights on the house.  When I was growing up, we never really went big on Christmas lights.  In fact, I can’t even recall that we did them at all save for a bush or two.   I would have expected to continue this trend in my own adulthood if it were not for the fact my wife is the daughter of a Griswald who creates displays that are used by pilots to guide them in to the airport. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoy the finished product (particularly for my children), but I have to be pushed and prodded to get there.   You should see me trying to negotiate with my wife so I can get away with less than we did the prior year. 

 Me: “I’m going to hang the big bulbs on the house, but doing away with the icicle lights”

Wife: “The icicle lights are the best part!  I’d rather have the icicle lights than the big bulbs”

 Me: “The icicle lights can’t hang by themselves, they need some clips or something, like I have to use for the big bulbs.  If I have to do all that for the icicle lights, then I don’t really save anything”

Wife: “I don’t want only the big bulbs on the house (both disappointment and warning in her voice)”

Looks like I’ll be doing both…bah! 

To add insult to injury, it seems no less than 40% of the lights you pull out of your storage box (which of course I haphazardly put away after xmas due to the bitter cold…and laziness) have broken / missing bulbs or strands that don’t light completely.  Fortunately, my dear wife is willing to do the tedious work of repairing these strands…bulb by bulb if need be (no sense in giving me another excuse not to hang them).   I remember when helping my father-in-law hang his Christmas lights, if a strand were out, he would just toss them and buy new ones.  I recalled thinking to myself “wow, look at all that extra money spent when we could just repair them”.   Ah yes, the frugal me was in full effect in my early 20s.

Now, let’s fast forward 10 years where saying like “if I only knew then what I know now” start to actually mean something to you.  I’ll tell you why my wise father-in-law threw out those lights, it’s because after years of experience, he realized that the $5 per strand he would spend was a small price to pay in exchange for his sanity!  Now, while we haven’t actually done it yet (we are a frugal lot here), I am seriously considering it. 

As a compromise, I am going to be seriously investigating these new LED lights.  I understand they are a bit more expensive upfront, but believe they use less electricity and last longer (which I hope means more durable).  If any of you have experience with them, please let me know.  Also, if you have made the decision to toss and replace versus suffer and repair, I’d be interested to know that too (make me feel less guilty for doing so).



1. patrick paroline - November 28, 2007

We have been seeing a huge increase of our customers switching over to the LED line of christmas lights do to the fact that they last forever. Some estimates are at 50,000 to 100,000 operational hours which means that you should not have to be replace them anytime in your life. So even know they cost a little more upfront you definetly will save money over the life of the ligths you can compare the pricing between standard lights and the led lights through this link and see there is not that big of a price difference http://www.inyowinter.com/christmas_lights.aspx also the LED lighted Christmas trees have become very popular as well, these also give the benefits of LED you can view the pricing on the LED trees through this link http://www.inyowinter.com/christmas_trees.aspx Thanks Patrick

2. pf - November 28, 2007

Hehe…like how you plugged your site. However, assuming the lights on your site don’t have any special properties I’m unaware of, why would I pay $8, when I get the same thing at Wal-Mart for $2?

The LED lights were also a bit more expensive than what I’ve seen, but not as obscenely so. The frugal side of me says “no soup for you!”

3. Dashmahn - November 29, 2008

I’m struggling with icicle lights as I write — 4 strands not working this year. I’ve considered going with LED’s but, when I’ve thought about the number of times that strand failures have been due to the wiring as opposed to the lights, I’ve been hesitant to make the leap.

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