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

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