Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Coming on Christmas

They're cutting down trees

They're putting up reindeer

And singing songs of joy and peace

Joni Mitchell's River is one of the sadder holiday songs that has made its way into my favorites.  And no, not just because it's in Love, Actually.  While I'm a sap and love that movie, River touches a nostalgic heart string that dates back to my teenage angst.  Before there was emo, I was listening to Joni singing about running away on her river.  Even now, hearing the song makes me want to buy a pair of forlorn, white skates and skate away.

 Decorating the tree also makes me nostalgic, but in a much happier way.  As a child, I called it, appropriately, the swearing in of the Christmas tree as my dad struggled at the base and mom expertly directed, "A little more the right.  A few centimeters over near the top.  Perfect! Now just turn the whole thing a quarter turn so that bald spot is in the back!"

While trying to enjoy my favorite traditions, I also wanted to incorporate items that practiced good stewardship of resources.  We ordered our tree from Duke Forest through the Nicholas School for the Environment.  Our tree was farmed and harvested in a sustainable way.  Then we decided to outfit our 6' Frasier fur with LED lights.  

From the driveway, our living room looked like it was lit up by a 54" flat screen.  Well that, or an alien dissection lab.  It's blue.  And it's unnatural.

I took this photo of regular lights when we were considering relighting the tree all together.

The warm glow highlights the ornaments.  They literally shine light on the ornaments that can be reflected.  Now look at our LED lights:
 The blue haze takes some getting used to.  In all honesty, I don't think I'll be fully used to it until no one uses the old lights anymore.  Right now, several people on our street are showing off their warm, old lights and I nearly cry when I see the TV/UFO glow from our house.
In an effort to mitigate the undesirable glow and to avoid relighting the whole tree, we put the lights on a dimmer, the results of which can be seen in the picture above.  On film, it actually appears quite dark, though in real life, it's a more attractive glow.  

Have you made the switch to LED lights?  Are you singing sad Christmas songs about the results?


  1. Yes! I, too, am not in love with our LED lights. They look so HARSH, even though we did get the 'warm' ones rather than the 'cool'. It doesn't help that our neighbors across the street and next door are using the good ol electricity-wasting incandescent icicle lights. Our house looks like a damn science experiment. Oh well. Eventually everyone will conform I suppose...

  2. I haven't gotten used to the idea of the LED Christmas lights. It's almost...too white. I don't know. Like you said, it's just not the same glow.

    Your tree looks awesome regardless. ;)

  3. I think you have the cool rather than warm white LEDs . . . we saw them when we went to a local arboretum that's lit up for the holidays, and it's funny how different the two whites can look.
    We have multicolor LEDs on our little Target fake tree. I'm not usually a multicolor light girl, but they're pretty nice.
    Love the reindeer and stockings!

  4. I still think everything looks gorgeous :)

  5. I bought new white lights last year, and considered getting LED. I didn't because I'm cheap, but the jokes on me: I have a Kil-a-watt, which measures electrical usage and my regular lights really are ineffecient. Each strand takes $1/day to run (approximately). You're right about the glow though--our neighbors across the street have them, and they do look like a tv.