This is Week 2 of the Simplify the Season series.
There is a neighborhood in our town where at least half of the families deck out their houses and yards with huge Christmas light displays, decorative yard displays and blow-up characters. While our family has enjoyed an annual tradition of driving through the neighborhood and oohing and ahhing over the lights (the kids love it!), I can’t help but think in the back of my mind, How much does all this cost, and how much energy does it use?
I don’t want to be a scrooge, and I do love the look of Christmas lights, but I’m not sure that those extreme displays are really necessary. I think you can beautifully decorate the outside of your home while still keeping things simple and a little more environmentally friendly. Since many people put up their Christmas lights and decorations this weekend after Thanksgiving, I wanted to give you a few ideas for simplifying your outdoor Christmas decorations this year.
Use LED Lights
For putting up lights outside on your house, make the switch from conventional Christmas lights to LED lights. LED Christmas light bulbs can last up to 12 times longer than regular bulbs, and use between 80-90% less energy. So you’ll save money on having to replace your Christmas light as often, and on your energy bill. LED lights are also brighter, so you may find that you can have a beautifully decorated house while using fewer strands of light.
Use a timer
I cringe when I wake up the morning to take my daughter to school and drive by houses where their Christmas lights are still on. Now, with the time change, it’s light enough in the mornings that there’s no real need to have your lights on in the morning, and I don’t really think people have to see your lights on all night long. So, if you don’t want to brave the cold every night to unplug or turn of your lights, then make sure you use a light timer, which you can set to have your lights display for a certain amount of time and then turns them off automatically for you, saving energy and saving you money.
Add small decorations that make a big impact
Again, I don’t think that a whole house needs to be covered with lights, Christmas Vacation style, to look beautifully decorated. I love this idea that I found on Pinterest last year, to make little lit Christmas trees out of tomato cages. Simple and beautiful, but they still have a big impact.
Add a natural or homemade wreath
Wreaths are a staple of the holidays and are an easy way to add simple beauty and Christmas spirit to your front door. Use a natural wreath made out of pine branches that you can throw in your compost pile, or recycle with your Christmas tree after the holidays are over. Or make a unique homemade wreath that can be used year after year, as always, inspiration abounds on Pinterest!
Use materials other than lights
As with wreaths, you can use materials other than lights to decorate your house for a big visual impact without the energy use. I’ve seen houses decorated with a large strips of fabric crisscrossed across the front of the house to look like a ribbon and bow of a present.
Use your imagination to decorate your home in a way that is beautiful and has the spirit of Christmas all over it, but is also simple, easy to reuse year after year, and has less of an impact on the environment.
How do you decorate the outside of your home for Christmas?
Read all the posts in the Simplify the Season series.
If you’d like to learn more about living green and living frugally I’d love to have you as a Live Renewed reader! You can subscribe, either by email or in a reader, to get the latest posts, ideas and inspiration for living frugally green. You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!
Image courtesy of taoty/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net