EDITORIAL: When the holiday lights don’t twinkle

If you are like most festive folks in Squamish, you will soon be heading to the basement, attic, or garage to haul up the holiday decorations.

This shlep is an annual ritual some look forward to and others dread.

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Many of our displays involve twinkling lights or those jolly inflatable characters that depressingly deflate each Squamish windstorm or cold snap.

But most of us will decorate despite the frustrations, and those who do, are doing it bigger and brighter.

Overall outdoor holiday electricity usage in B.C. has increased by about 15% since 2012, due to the growing number of more elaborate holiday displays, according to a 2018 BC Hydro report.

Perhaps those of us who were raised watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and that fuse-blowing, blinding Griswold light display are inspired to try to recreate it?

Regardless, we aren’t sure what happens between the New Year when the festive decor comes down and the following winter that results in some broken ornaments and frustratingly tangled — or completely dead light strings — but we have our theories ( a disgruntled elf is a likely suspect).

Anyhoo, instead of tossing out those disobedient lights from yesteryear (or stuffing them back into the box and pretending you couldn’t find them), recycle them.

The GFL depot takes them, as does London Drugs.

They are taken from these companies by Product Care Recycling, a not-for-profit which claims to have diverted 40 million light bulbs from landfills since 2010.

Booyah!

Here are some other energy-saving tips.

Skip the whole consumer-centred Christmas thing altogether. (What? A grinchy elf must have snuck that into our piece while we were working on the rest of the paper. He’s highly suspect, we told you. Ignore him. We love the holiday season.)

According to BC Hydro, one-third of British Columbians still use old-school holiday lights — increasing their energy use. If you haven’t already, switch to LED holiday lights to save power and money.

Three strands of standard size holiday lights (75 C9 bulbs) left on for six hours a day from Dec. 1 to Jan. 15) cost $14.10 for incandescents; LEDs cost $0.18.

Cha-ching.

Save that extra cash for some bath bombs to help you relax before and after dinner with the relatives. (If your family puts the fun in dysFUNction like ours.)

Also, plug holiday lights into timers so they aren’t running all day while you are at work or school or out shopping.

Oh and be careful up on those ladders putting up the displays, would you?

In 2018, there were 1,138 accepted claims as a result of falls from ladders in B.C., according to WorkBC.

Unlike Clark Griswold, played by Chevy Chase, there isn’t a stunt person to take the fall for you.

But maybe that rogue elf...

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