© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Holiday Traditions Change for New Technology

Holiday traditions are something many people look forward to this time of year and often made fun of in movies like "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" where Clark W. Griswold gets a little too ambitious with his exterior light decorating. While some people may not go as far as the Griswold's, WOSU reports some people have put traditions aside and gone green this season not green as in holly and ivy, but green as the environment.

For many people it's a holiday pastime: everybody piles into the family car for a nighttime drive to admire the glowing lights adorned on neighbors' houses. While some families take a more classic approach with all white lights, others like a little - or a lot - of color in their yard. But if you've gone light-looking in the past year or so you may have noticed lights don't quite look the same the colors appear more brilliant and some white lights have a cool, bluish tone instead a warm candlelight color they're LED lights and they're becoming a popular choice.

Marilyn Fisk lives on McCoy Road in Upper Arlington. Her snow-covered shrubs glow an icy blue the trees sparkle the same cool color.

"We got them late last year," she said.

Fisk said she has always decorated her yard for the holidays, but only the past two years has she used LED lights.

"Environment was the number one concern, I think," Fisk said.

Just a few miles down the road another yard glows with LED lights. This is the first year Kurt Anderson, who lives on Northwest Boulevard, strung the cool white lights.

"I was going LED because that way we don't have to change the little bulbs that were always a pain to have to change. And there's also the cost of electricity savings," Anderson said.

LEDs use fewer kilowatts which means savings on electric bills. Anderson said he hasn't had his lights long enough to see a savings. But Fisk, who had hers last season, has seen little change to her power bill.

"We hope to save some money, although, with everything else, with the heat and everything else, I'm not sure we see that," Fisk said.

While LED lights are environmentally friendly and are supposed to last much longer than incandescent bulbs, they're more expensive. A pack of incandescent bulbs can be found as cheap as $2 - $3 for a box for 100 lights, but the same box of LED lights can run three to four times that price. Fisk got her LEDs at a discount.

"A local store had a promotion where they gave you $3 off for each strand of lights we brought in toward a purchase," Fisk said. Mike Clapper is a sales consultant with Christmas D cor of Powell. The company decorates homes with lights for the holidays. Clapper said they only use LED lights unless the customer absolutely objects.

"The incandescent bulbs are beginning to phase out, and the LED is the new technology that everybody likes," Clapper said.

Clapper, who said the company provides the lights, says the average client spends about $200 - $300 lighting up their home with the LEDs. Incandescent bulbs are about 10 percent less. Clapper said there's another cost-saving advantage to LEDs. "LED bulbs have a poly-carbonate bulb that's pretty tough. So as you're moving things around caring products from the truck to the house there's less bulb breakage and things like that, and those kind of things make them a little bit easier to use," Clapper said.

And if you really want that traditional warm, white light, Clapper said white LEDs do come in the candlelight color.

"That's what we use pretty much across the board. Basically the only difference is one has the more golden color, the other has the more blue color. And for us to keep everything straight here we've just decided to go with pretty much what everybody expects to see is that warmer white color," he said.

Kurt Anderson said he knew what to expect with the cool white LEDs, but Marilyn Fisk was not prepared.

"I will admit I was surprised when I first turned them on, and it's taken some getting used to. But I really do like them now. Last year, I wasn't sure. Last night we were looking out and the icy blue with the pretty snow, it was really very pretty," Anderson said.