Old-School or LED Christmas Lights? Surprising Facts
As a firm believer in Griswolding our house at Christmas (National Lampoons Christmas Vacation!) I've learned a lot about lights and inflatables over the years.
Interesting information about LED vs. incandescent (glass) bulbs
For years, we've strung the old-school glass C-9 incandescent bulbs along the roofline, around our willow tree trunk (to make it look like a candy cane or barber pole) and anywhere else they will fit. We've also at one time had as many as 7 inflatables in the yard, but that's another story.
I have always loved mixing colors, which you can do with screw-in bulbs. We usually alternated green-blue and red-white strands. I do NOT like multi-colored strands, where you have red, green, orange, blue, white etc.
As time has worn on, however, and the LED technology of fluorescent lights has improved, I have learned how hard it is to maintain older glass C-9 strands. Unless you have a spool to roll them up on or make some sort of rack, they easily tangle. If you drop the strand too hard on the driveway, bulbs shatter. We finally broke down and got rid of our old C-9 strands because they were just too time-consuming to maintain (shout out to Griggs Ace Hardware in Pasco for still carrying massive amounts of single replacement C-9 bulbs!).
Are C-9 incandescents going away?
According to a variety of sources, including regencylighting.com, most non-LED Christmas bulbs and strands are going to go away after August 1st, 2023, due to Department of Energy mandates. This doesn't mean you won't be able to find them, but they will be scarce.
I have learned that while LED strands are initially more expensive than old-school bulbs, that cost is offset by not having to buy replacement glass bulbs every year. And if properly stored on a spool inside a shed or garage, they do last a long time. They also use less energy, saving a little money during the holidays.
While the glow of old-fashioned C-9s is cool, the bright 'pop' of LEDs makes your home look pretty cool during Christmas.
My advice? If you have some old C-9 glass bulb strands, clean them up, carefully store them, and hang onto them. A few years down the road, they will probably be worth a lot of money, especially among holiday collectors.