One of my favorite memories from when I was little was driving to Iowa to visit my grandparents for Christmas. We did not get to see them very often, so it was a real treat.

Their little brick house always reminded me of a candy house, and it always smelled so good from Grandma’s cooking.

Granddad was a quarryman and always had a cherry-picker truck come to his house to put Christmas lights on a huge blue spruce in the front yard. He always waited until we came to throw the switch for the first time. The tree with all of the lights was magnificent!

That was back when Christmas tree bulbs were the same size as an old night-light bulb – not even close to today’s mini-bulbs. Tree lights then became hot very quickly and were hazardous. Many house fires were caused from Christmas lights.

In the past few years, LED Christmas lights have become very popular. LED lamps generate very little heat. So, for Christmas lights they are ideal, you get the pure color, can have them on for long periods of time for a fraction of the cost and they do not create a fire hazard.

LED Christmas lights have come down so much in price and are so much better than the old standard that according to National Public Radio, “Stores are selling more LED lights this year, which use less energy. As these lights grow cheaper, Wal-Mart says it will devote half its Christmas light shelf space to LEDs. Costco won’t sell anything else.”

According to, a company that sells, rents and installs Christmas lights in several cities, said, “Thirty percent of new customers are opting for LEDs. The lights can save about 80 percent or more of the energy used by incandescent bulbs.”

When I first heard about LEDs coming on the market, I thought about Granddad’s Christmas tree and wondered what he would say. Probably something like, “Oh, my, aren’t those something. What will they think of next?” Granddad left us way too early, but he enjoyed life to its fullest.

Granddad, your Christmas tree would be magnificent with LED! Wish you were here to see it!

Lynn Youngblood is the executive director of the Blue River Watershed Association in Kansas City, a residential energy client service coordinator certified by the National Energy Retrofit Institute, and a past nature center manager with the Missouri Department of Conservation.