- Dec 14, 2009
As someone who feels strongly that American's use of energy and resources is morally unacceptable, I would like to be very clear about this:
Christmas lights are NOT a waste of energy.
That 80% of car trips have only the driver or a driver and one passenger, yet seat from 5-7 people is a waste of energy. That we live, on average, 20 miles from our jobs is a waste of energy. Uninsulated attics and unweather stripped doors and windows in houses and power steering and air conditioning in cars, all electric kitchens, and cars that weigh 50% more than they did 20 years ago and have 200% more power are all enormous wastes of energy.
Buying enormous amounts of crap that no one really needs and that get shoved into a closet or thrown out after a few weeks wastes energy in manufacture and transport.
Not one of those things provides any significant increase in quality of life. None of them make people happy to be alive. At most they provide a tiny increase in convince. At worst they do nothing but cost money. None of them create joy.
In a land where profit is considered the only motivating factor for nearly everything in life, filled with people who don't know their neighbors, where 50% of people can't be bothered to take the effort to use their turn signals, for a few weeks a year people do something with no financial benefit, no increase in comfort or convenience, no direct personal benefit.
You don't even see them from inside the house. Everyone else passing by sees them.
They turn an ordinary neighborhood into a magical place.
They create joy.
Which makes them one of the few valid uses of energy in this country.
Because ultimately, making it enjoyable is really the only point there is to life.
So go ahead and enjoy those giant flashy displays and don't for a second feel guilty about it.
Put up your own even.
You can get a strip of LED lights for less than $10 that use less than 5 watts of power, (far less than a single florescent light bulb).
I even found a set for under $5 that runs for days on just (rechargeable) AA batteries.
But LED or no, the lights are worthwhile and good.
A world without christmas lights is not a world worth saving.