Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Is a Griswold Christmas Socially Irresponsible?

I like holiday lights just as much as the next person but I wonder if some people go a little overboard. In driving around this season, it seems that there are a few more "over the top" homes than in prior years. I wonder if one can correlate economics to the number of homes that are pulling more than their share of amps from the electric grid. A Freakanomics assessment would be interesting...

What do you think? Is is socially irresponsible to use so much electricity considering the state of the planet and the economy or would it be Scrooge-like of anyone to ask? A 'bah-humbug!' response doesn't seem to address the issue to me, however. Is having a Griswold-like Christmas just part of the deal with the holidays?


Anonymous city watching said...

I'd be interested to know how much the average display (if there is an "average") of Christmas lights cost/day in electricity usage. Anyone know or know how to find out?

There seem to be many more lights in the poorer sections than in the richer areas of town, which always strikes me as, uhhh, interesting.

PS: What is a Griswold Christmas?

12/14/2008 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Ho Ho Ho said...

The new holiday lighting uses a tiny fraction of electricity. Holiday lighting is one of the cheeriest thing I know. More is better and today more is even more energy efficient.

Hop on the trolly, have your mug of hot cider and concede our dreary times need this bit of pride, joy and magic. I wish every home would drape itself in these new terrific icicle lights. I think it would all help us smile more.

We are in for some very dark times in 2009. Let's celebrate the last of 2008 with a burst of cheer.

12/14/2008 9:57 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Good points -- the Griswold's is the family from National Lampoon's vacation series with Chevy Chase:

12/14/2008 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

As with so many things this is all a matter of balance. We could all live in teepees and eat brown rice and black beans and wear loin cloths made from woven marsh reeds. But such drastic simplification is not a realistic expectation. Rather, we should encourage those who want to put up Christmas light displays to tend toward modesty and switch to LED lights. Considering the amount of energy the average American consumes on a daily basis, a little moderation actually goes a long way. No need for spartan living and hair shirts. Just try to consume 5% to 10% less than you did last year and the whole world could benefit.

12/14/2008 1:55 PM  
Anonymous el_smurfo said...

Electricity is sold on a progressive pricing scale...those who use a lot in December will pay significantly more than a normal month...the perfect Blogabarbara paradigm...

12/14/2008 2:21 PM  
Anonymous city watching said...

Just to be clear, I wasn't saying there shouldn't be lights (or that I wished there weren't any) just wondering how much electricity they use, how much more an average well-lit house uses. ...Not a scrooge I, although some of the displays are way over the top of my tastes, but so what!

12/14/2008 8:27 PM  
Anonymous art said...

I took an old string of lights to the main library and got a brand-new string of LED ones for free. A very nice deal from Southern California Edison.

12/15/2008 1:15 PM  
Blogger Voodoo Picnic said...

I like watching what people choose to display. Rock it big, rock it small. Hopefully we are already aware or becoming ever more so of the new lighting available. The electric bill is presumably factored into the decision to display or not. I personally LOVE looking at the stuff just because it IS. Things get so heavy sometimes that people need, dare I say, an outlet. You are not a scrooge for posing your question.

12/16/2008 11:10 PM  

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