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Lighting Up My Christmas, But Not My Energy Bill

AP

In my 8 in '08 predictions, I told you to expect more melding of my enthusiasm for the energy beatwith my passion for personal finance. So you shouldn't be surprised that this is what's on my mind.

I plan to decorate my house for the holidays this weekend. But I'm well aware that, along with heating costs, my electric bill is also going to go up this winter. So what am I going to do?

I plan to get more energy-efficient holiday lights for starters. It may not save me a bundle, but every bit helps. Mini-LED lights ("light-emitting diodes") put out equal amounts of light and use less than one-tenth the energy as the little incandescent bulbs, according to Edison Electric Institute. How? The way I understand it, incandescent bulbs use an electric current to generate light AND heat, but the LEDs are basically semi-conductor chips that only emit light, no heat.

The mini-LED strings of lights may cost me a few bucks more than an incandescent string. But, I plan to hang onto them for awhile since they last a lot longer ( provided they don't get all tangled up like my old lights.)

The folks at Edison told me I could light up my Christmas tree with 500 mini-LED lights for 6 hours a day for a whole month for just $.60, compared to $4.50 with the incandescent ones. A $4 savings won't cover my vente latte at Starbucks, you say?

Well, if I put up as many lights as some of my neighbors--all over the house and garage, in the living room and playroom, not to mention the reindeers and sleigh in the yard--the savings certainly adds up. More important, it'll help the environment.

And we'll turn the lights off when we're not home and as soon as the kids go to bed--for energy savings and safety.

I'll be on the Today show talking about energy savings savings tips too. If you miss it, catch it here: www.todayshow.com.

Questions? Comments? energysource@cnbc.com