The holidays are a wonderful time – there’s the time off from work, visits from family, and the fun of carrying on traditions from generation to generation. However, the not-so-fun side of the holidays is the electric and gas bill, pine needles in the carpet, and climbing all over that slippery roof to hang your lights. In a season of excess, going green won’t just make you feel better about the polar bears: over the course of time, it will make your wallet feel better, too. So here’s a list of three things you can do to make your holidays cozier, not costlier.
1. Replace those old tangled string lights.
Everyone has them somewhere- on the tree, wrapped around the roof, draped decoratively around the flower bed. But they’re such a hassle! Lights burn out pretty quickly, and when you replace one string it never quite matches the others. Maybe you can’t afford to replace EVERY Christmas light in your collection, so start with one set- the tree, the windows, the house- and replace a set every year with LED lights. LEDs can last up to 22 years, so this is a very short term expense. Look for EnergyStar rated products to ensure real quality instead of flashy promises. You’ll watch your annual Christmas energy bill fall with the snow.
2. Artificial vs. authentic: the tree question.
This is one of those questions with multiple right answers. Artificial trees look real, don’t shed pine needles, store easily, and are willing to forgive many years of abuse. They aren’t harvested from forests and can be recycled. However, it’s not so much about how many uses you can get from your tree… as it is about what the tree is made of, and what it does to the environment when it is created and when you dispose of it. Recycling isn’t a pollution free endeavor, and artificial trees can be expensive. Your greener bet for the planet is actually going to be the real deal. Make sure the trees are harvested from farms, not forests, and take them to the landfill to be mulched- Mother Nature’s pollution free recycling program- instead of leaving it on the curb.
3. Find the heat leak and stop it up.
With guests wandering in and out and cranking up your thermometer, heating bills skyrocket at this time of year. There’s hope, though. Check the door sweeps and seals for cracking and other signs of age. Replacing them is a quick and cost effective way to take a bite out of drafts. The biggest heat leaks in your house come through the windows. Cellular shades are a great antidote to this problem. Cellular shades create a pocket of air between their layers that insulate your rooms. In addition, they create a valuable layer of privacy- even in most light filtering fabrics- that your guests will appreciate. And don’t worry about cramping your style. With a wide variety of fabrics, textures, colors, and features, these heat savers are sure to make you merry.