For Some, There is Truly Sustainable Christmas Decor. And Then There’s the Rest of Us…

December 19th, 2009

While making the second of two treks to Big Boy’s elementary school yesterday (don’t ask), I noticed this gorgeous outside Christmas display.  What’s not to love? Sustainable, creative, festive, merry, bright….


And then there are those of us who are just used to things a bit more, shall we say, bright?


Let’s face it. You can take the girl out of New Jersey, but you can’t take the New Jersey out of the girl. I may be able to pass myself off as a Washington, D.C. sophisticate from time to time, but when it comes to deep-rooted traditions like Christmas, I’m well…I’m tacky. I confessed it two years ago in this post, Green Tacky, Tacky.

At Christmastime, I dream of New Jersey lights:  big, honking, obnoxious, BIG LIGHTS like at the “Elvis House” in Mahwah, New Jersey and the Koenig Christmas House in Lodi, New Jersey, which features 43,000 lights synchronized to music and a bowling Santa scene.

I tried to use only the most  tasteful LED lights, like the white icicles that look like a picture straight out of Southern Living Magazine. But they were…boring. So I compromised with these multi-colored LED strands we string through our bushes.


But they’re still….too boring.

I just…needed more….something tacky.

I tried to explain to my reserved British-born husband that next to those crazy light shows back in New Jersey, our display was positively modest. Why, all we have is  a Christmas countdown clock (pictured above),  towering eight foot tall inflatable Santasantaphoto

flanked by another towering inflatable snowman,


blinking choo choo train, miniature lighted Santas up the front walk, Mr. and Mrs. Claus sitting on our front porch, and of course the bushes accented by tasteful  energy-efficient LED lights. Why, I doubt we even qualify for a listing at!


Of course, as a self-professed “Green Mom,” I’m keenly aware of all the waste engendered by this display.  I published this plea two years ago for  tacky, tacky energy-efficient, recyclable, LED Christmas light displays. But two years later….still nothing in the stores. Yes, I have tacky LED Christmas displays, but they’re hardly sustainable. You can’t even replace a bulb! They’re designed to be thrown away after just a few seasons’ use.  My gosh, there’s got to be at least one or two other conflicted Tacky Greens out there who would buy sustainable tacky Christmas decor!

So why do it? Well, just as we have our Greener Traditions like Ye Olde Advent Calendar and the Reading of the Christmas Books, our tacky, tacky lawn has become a much anticipated annual event in our Bethesda neighborhood.  I now have a reputation to keep up! Ours is the house that the children  come to visit – to look and to gawk at Santa, Snowman, and the rest of our artificial friends.   We look out the front window and laugh at their pointed fingers and smiles. And to me, albeit a lot less green than I’d like, it sure does bring a lot of joy to us during this season of joy.

By the way, if you see any tacky, tacky LED outside Christmas light displays with replaceable bulbs,   PLEASE let me know where to find them!

— Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

The Last Word on Green Tacky, Tacky

December 22nd, 2007

It’s been two weeks since I wrote about Green Tacky, Tacky and asked my dear readers for tips on where to find tacky “green” LED lights like choo choo trains, reindeer, Santa and the like. Guess what? No luck. Not a tip. Nada. Zilch. I even called upon my dear friend Karen, who works as an “elf” at her family’s business, Santa’s World, one of America’s largest importers of Christmas decorations. Not even she had heard of tacky green outdoor decorations.

What’s more, our one remaining tacky item, the 8 foot tall towering Santa, died – or deflated or something. What a sad sight. The neighborhood kids are beside themselves.

A Sad Sight: Deflated Santa

So now in a single season, our house has gone from being the talk of the neighborhood to simply another boring tastefully decorated house with LED lights.

To make matters worse, some of my friends in the “real world” have suggested that tacky and green don’t go together. Are you either green and tasteful, or non-environmentally friendly and tacky?

And if I don’t find tacky green outdoor decorations? What will I say to the neighborhood kids, as they gaze at the deflated Santa on my lawn? Will I commit an eco-sin and buy the non-environmentally friendly outside decorations? Well, I don’t confess sins but every Mother in America knows what I’ll do next.

— Lynn

An LED Rant, Warning and Recommendation

December 10th, 2007

Here at the Green Tacky, Tacky home front, we were quite content with our new environmentally friendly LED lights procured from Target Friday evening. However, upon trying to install them this weekend, we realized that the lights were designed for built-in obsolescence. If one light blows, there’s no way to remove it to replace the bulb. Riddle me this: why are products only half-way green? You see it all the time: organic food served on Styrofoam plates or plastic cards in a food co-op. It just is crazy.

So off we set to our neighborhood hardware store, Strosniders, where they tend to carry the very finest of everything. (They also happen to be 100% wind-powered, isn’t that cool?) For about $3 more a box than the cheap environmentally unfriendly LEDs we bought at Target, we purchased replacement LEDs that came complete with two spare bulbs in the packaging. Check out Good Tidings brand Ultimate Indoor / Outdoor LED lights.

— Lynn

Green Tacky, Tacky

December 7th, 2007

I left small town New Jersey years ago to fashion myself a Washington DC sophisticate. Prior to kids, I had largely succeeded, at least until the Christmas season rolled around and my true roots were revealed: New Jersey through and through. You see, in Jersey, Christmas means Christmas lights. Not the tasteful white lights that women who read “Southern Living” string up alongside beautiful displays of greenery. Christmas means big, honking, obnoxious, “tacky,” as my British DH would say, BIG LIGHTS like at the “Elvis House” in Mahwah, New Jersey and the Koenig Christmas House in Lodi, New Jersey, which features 43,000 lights synchronized to music and a bowling Santa scene.

I tried to explain to DH that next to those crazy light shows, our display of a towering eight foot tall inflatable Santa, blinking choo choo train, miniature lighted Santas up the front walk, and Rudolph (of course), accented by tasteful Southern Living-esque white icicle lights along the front of the house was positively modest.

What I never realized as I amassed that amazing collection of Christmas lights at various post Christmas close-out sales was that unlike the fine New Jersey lights of my youth, these were designed for built-in obsolesence. There’s no way to replace the bulbs, and besides, now that I’m more energy-aware, I felt a bit guilty of an eco-sin.

So tonight we trudged out to Target to get some energy-efficient LED Christmas lights. Regrettably, LEDs are seriously lacking in the tacky department. We did manage to find some multi-colored big bulby looking lights for the house and a rounded Merry Christmas sign, but I had to pass on a replacement choo choo train, Rudolph, and mini-Santa lights because they were none available in the LED section. What’s more, the multi-colored LEDs were nearly sold out. There were plenty of those bright blue LEDs that hurt your eyes when you look at them.

If you need to replace your old energy-hogging incandescent lights with energy efficient LEDs, you better get right to it, because the stores are selling out of them. Here are a few online sources for LEDs:,, and And here’s a cool site that sells solar powered lights –

By the way, if you see any tacky, tacky LED lights, PLEASE let me know where to find them!