Green Christmas / Lighting

Dreaming of a Green Christmas Pt. 2: Lighting Up the Holidays

Dreaming of a Green Christmas series logo Now that you’ve decided to get a real tree this year — or to continue using the artificial tree you already own — there’s some decorating to do. One of the things I have always loved about the holidays driving around town to look at outdoor lighting displays. But I can’t help feeling that all that extra load on the energy grid is unnecessary. Christmas decorating needs to be more energy efficient. So tackle the most obvious culprit: Notoriously energy-hogging holiday lights.

Home lit up with Christmas lights

Opt for LED Lights

I’ve never enjoyed untangling strings of Christmas lights when it’s time to decorate. I also hate hunting for the one or two bulbs that stop the whole string from working, and you’re best advised to keep your distance from lights that have been on for a while so you don’t get burned. LEDs won’t end the tangles, but they will solve a couple of other problems:

  • When one bulb goes out, it doesn’t affect the whole strand
  • They stay cool to the touch
  • They use only about 10% of the power traditional lights require
  • They last about 10 years longer than traditional lights

So if you’re in the market for some new strands of lights, you won’t regret picking up some LEDs. They are very comparable in price to traditional lights, and the eco-benefits are obvious. Of course, if you have functional traditional lights, you should continue to use them. If you want to trade them in for LEDs for the environmental impact, don’t just throw out your old lights. Give them away, donate them to charity or sell them. Here are a couple of LED options:

LED Holiday Lights

  1. GE 50-Count LED C9 Multi Lights from Lowe’s. Style: Large, retro, multicolored lights. Price: $19.97.
  2. GE 50-Count LED 8MM White Lights from Lowe’s. Style: Miniature white lights. Price: $10.97
  3. 1000 Multicolor LED Holiday Lights from Overstock. Photo not shown. Style: Standard multicolored lights. Price: $94.99 (aff)

Go Solar for Outdoor Displays

Outdoor lighting displays can get pretty elaborate, and they can also be energy leeches. Instead of resolving to pay a higher energy bill in November and December, buy solar-powered outdoor lights. They take advantage of the sun’s energy and store it during the day, and they will power your lights at night with no effect on your electric bill. You also won’t have to worry about trying to find a place to plug them all in. Here are some options:

Solar LED Holiday Lights

  1. Solar Powered Christmas Lights from Get Organized. Style: 26 foot, 60-bulb strand of multi-colored holiday lights. Price: $19.98 or $16.98/ea. when you buy 2 or more.
  2. Solar Net Lights from Get Organized. Style: 45″ x 36″, 50-bulb light net that can be stretched over shrubs or plants. Price: $19.98
  3. LED Solar Holiday Lightsicon from Gaiam. Style: 42′ string of 104 red lights. Price: $89.99

Use Candles for Ambience

I’m a candle lover by nature, and decorating for the holidays is a great excuse to use as many of them as your heart desires. You may opt for moderation if you have children or pets, but candles are great for creating intimate ambience. But don’t use just any candles. Use safe, green candles made of paraffin alternatives like soy, palm, or beeswax. Why? Traditional paraffin candles are petroleum-based and can leach dangerous toxins when burned. An added bonus: Candles make great, inexpensive, green holiday gifts. Here are a few options:

Eco-Friendly Candles

  1. Beeluxe Natural Beeswax Candles. Made of an organic beeswax blend with natural cotton wicks. Price: $14-27
  2. Elite Essentials Palm Wax Candles. Made of sustainable palm wax with cotton wicks. Price: $3.99-11.99
  3. Pacifica Soy Candles. Made of soy wax with lead-free cotton wicks. $4.95-19.95


Like what you’ve read today? For the rest of the week, Green Your Decor will focus on key aspects of the Christmas season, including ornaments and decor, gifting and gift wrap, and entertaining guests. Other posts:


Throughout the series, Green Your Decor has featured products and books that can help you have a greener holiday season. The series culminates with a HUGE GIVEAWAY in which two lucky readers will walk away with prize packages that include many of these products. So if you’re not yet a subscriber, sign up for the GYD email updates or get your content via your favorite RSS reader — it doesn’t matter which. Just make sure you don’t miss out on what’s to come.

About Author

I am a graphic designer by trade who has a strong passion for interior design and doing what we can to protect the environment. This blog and my other site, Green & Gorgeous, are my ways of giving back to the Earth.


  • Nancy J
    December 2, 2008 at 9:41 am

    I think the LED lights are the best thing that has come around . A great savings in electricity

    Nancy Js last blog post..Mudpies and Mary Janes

  • Jessica
    December 2, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Thanks for this! I just bought my first house and have been so eager to decorate for Christmas. Although I won’t be able to this year (can’t afford to buy any lights) I plan on snagging up lights on clearance after Christmas so I can decorate next year. I planned on buying LED, but I love the solar option too!

  • MyBrownBaby
    December 2, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Now see, I had NO idea that there were green Christmas lights. I have a bazillion of them–hang them on everything. But they’re not LED lights, and, of course, they can be a drain on the electricity bill. And I LOVE Pacifica candles! The Beelux candles are cutie, too.

    You always showcase such beautiful, cool things. THANKS for that!


    MyBrownBabys last blog post..Starched Pillowcases and Chocolate Bon Bons

  • Amy Woidtke
    December 3, 2008 at 5:46 am

    Nice series start Jennae! Your graphics are always so lovely.

    Hope the move went well and you’re settling in nicely. I just upheaved my office and some of my common area into a nicer re-design. SO much better now! (Don’t we always say that EVERY time we re-design?) haha.

    way over in Seattle!

    Amy Woidtkes last blog post..Preparing your Home for Holiday Guests

  • Jennifer James
    December 3, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Heard you on TheChatterbox. Loved it!

    Jennifer Jamess last blog post..Crocheted Cupcake Giveaway

  • jennae
    December 5, 2008 at 11:29 am

    @Jessica That is a great idea, and they will be steeply discounted the day after Christmas. Walmart actually has some LEDs for $9.99 for a string of 60 lights. That’s a pretty good price, but you’ll get them for even less than that after the holidays.

    @MyBrownBaby You are very welcome!

    @Amy Thank you for the well wishes! We’re doing pretty good. I envy you for having an office space, because I no longer do. Right now, I’m working at the coffee table 🙁

    @Jennifer Thanks for listening! I had lots of fun doing it.


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