Lighting–For Northern Poor Folks
You're keeping the curtains closed to save heat. But now it's dark indoors. It's even darker because the days are short and assorted forms of dihydrogen oxide are falling from the sky. How do you keep your electric meter from spinning like a slot machine if you can't use candles or oil lamps? We have fairy lights (very small Christmas tree lights that don't heat up) strung around our living room just below the ceiling. We got a deal on little plastic hooks that can be pulled off the wall without leaving a mark, but packing tape would work. We keep them on all day and that's just enough, combined with the daylight that filters in through our heavy double curtains, to let us see colors. It also creates a soft, rosy glow. We turn on a lamp at mealtimes or when we do detailed work, such as balancing a check register, but otherwise we don't need that much light. The fairy lights draw much less electricity than one of the big fixtures. I also find that they're better at chasing away cabin fever. We didn't actually do this to save electricity. With a crib in the living room, there was no room for a tree. So my husband decorated the entire room with lights, tinsel, and ornaments. We took down the tinsel and ornaments after Christmas, but we'll leave the lights up until Lent. This is the third year we have done this, and I never get tired of it.