Update: Concerning Light

I keep promising tree pictures, and then letting you down. I’m sorry. A combination of Indiana, two violent colds, and final exams are going to prevent the tree from being fully dressed for at least another week. We did put up the LED lights, though, so I could at least have something besides a naked tree to look at, but that’s actually caused me a dilemma.

The LED light strings are a very bright, blue-white light. It’s very sterile, and completely unlike the cheery yellowy glow from the regular strands of lights I have used on trees and in classier dorm-room decorating all my life. By the by- the BBC has a helpful story on what LED lights are and some of their promising applications, and they mention this problem of cold, blue-based light. Now, I’ve heard the same complaint about CFLs- they don’t give off the quality of light people are used to from regular tungsten bulbs, I hate the way they look, wah. I used to think these people were whiny. It’s the future! Get a decent lampshade! The white translucent shades and the vaguely yellow tinge of my walls make my CFL glow pretty homey, actually. Lighting designers are working on this, slightly reluctantly. Apparently the bigshot design people love incandescent bulbs– their shape, their glow, their iconic status- and hate the way CFLs shine.  But more and more are playing with ways to make the compact fluorescents appealing (hey guys:  try Ikea lampshades and “apartment complex off-white” walls).  Plus, since they don’t get as hot as incandescents, the designers can put materials closer to the bulb and not worry about combustion.  So that’s exciting for them, right?  Moving into a brave new well-lit world?  Anyway, LEDs are supposed to solve all this because their light comes in lots of colors, depending on the chemicals used (see the BBC article).  My problem now is, they use blue for almost everything, including “white”, and I hate the way they look.  Wah!

I like my gold and red tree decorations, and the old lights made it look so nice.  The LEDs will make it look awful.  Granted, they’d look great with silver ornaments, and blue decorations (Hanukkah people, LEDs are perfect for you!).  And if you mix lots of colors on your tree, then LEDs work fine.  All the stuff I have is red and gold, though.  I don’t want to buy a new set of ornaments just to make my lights look not sad.   Maybe they sell non blue-tinged white LEDs?

So now the guilt sets in.  Use LEDs on the tree and suck up that they’re stupid-looking, or use the older lights and suck up some extra power? I won’t have to buy any new sets of lights- I still have them from last year, and they’re not too tangled.  And there are plenty of other places I can put my LEDs- on the balcony, or the bookshelves, or in my garland.

This is going to take some time to mull over.  Fortunately, I haven’t got time to decorate the tree now, anyway.

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2 Responses to “Update: Concerning Light”


  1. 1 Biking Person December 12, 2007 at 9:35 am

    We’ve had the LED lights up on our tree for a few weeks now, and I’m still trying to get used to them… to top off our tree we got a star with mica panes, and it uses white filament bulbs, so we’ve got that blue-white light going on most of the tree and then the yellow-ish star on top! What a mess!

    Anyway, good luck with exams, see you at lunch sometime.

  2. 2 Jaynee December 14, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Ah, at last a subject that equals my emotional intelligence. I read, in awe, all others and sit, silently mute.

    So, as you know, in design and color there’s always a balance to be struck. I’m sure there’s a solution. Even though your description was detailed and gave my brain a clear picture, I’d still love to see a real photo to capture the full scope of the problem. Solutions, I’m sure, are immediately at hand, and affordable. The Queen of Cheap has spoken.

    Further, feel free to come by this weekend. I’m hoping to not only dig into the huge accumulation of 25 years of married Christmases, but to have some samples of our new ceramic ornaments! Many wags of the Finger of Shame that I don’t have a photo of those to share with you. Yet, at home, perhaps I do……


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