Monday, 8 December 2008

Now I'm the fun police

I used to enjoy seeing all the Christmas lights on people's houses - when our son was very young he would be so excited by them and I would adjust my route to take us past the households that really made an effort. Now I just shake my head and fret about the wasted energy. This year I agonised over whether to put up our single row of icicle lights on the front of our house. In the end, we've put them up but used a timer so that they light briefly, at the right time of day to welcome us home. Our Christmas tree has its lights on a timer, too. Even so, I feel guilty about the energy we're using.

There are houses in our town that really go overboard with their Christmas lights, collecting money for charity from the people that come to see them. It's a kind gesture that gives pleasure, but perhaps its time to find another way to help. With energy so expensive, they could probably raise more for charity by just donating the amount they would have spent on powering the lights. On one level our lives would be a little poorer for not having the displays, but it's time for new thinking.

Our son is eight now, and pretty well informed on environmental issues. I'm sure I could explain to him that our Christmas lights are no longer a good idea and he'd understand. But it would make me feel like I'm stealing some of the fun from his childhood. And I don't think I can do that until I can find another kind of fun to put in its place.

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