December 22, 2016
One of my family’s holiday traditions is to snuggle up on the couch and binge watch holiday movies. Among our favourites is A Christmas Story, a classic take on a 1940s Indiana Christmas.
The story is narrated by an adult version of young Ralphie as his family prepares for Christmas. He cleverly plants hints about the Christmas gift he covets the most: a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and "this thing which tells time."
As I glanced around my home—with so many extra lights left on—and saw my teenage daughter shivering in her shorts in front of our snowy window, I was inspired by Ralphie’s subtle, and not so subtle, persistence. In fact, amongst the iconic moments, I came up with some energy-saving inspirations.
- Planting clever hints and reminders. From dropping notes to his teacher to subtle suggestions to his parents, Ralphie found a variety of creative techniques to keep his Christmas wishes top of mind. This year, I’ll be leaving blankets and slippers in handy places, and a note next to the thermostat to remind my kids to throw on a sweater before turning up the heat.
- Getting rid of unloved lighting. When a questionable lamp arrives, Ralphie's mom bumps and breaks it with her vacuum. I’ll resort to less drastic measures with my unwanted lighting, like my husband’s energy-sucking halogen torchiere that was popular in the 90s. It’ll be going to the local Return-it station. In addition to taking old lamps, Return-it offers a safe and environmentally-friendly way to recycle CFLs, batteries and small electronics too.
- Keeping doors and windows shut. Airing out the kitchen with an open door was the downfall for Ralphie's Christmas turkey as it let in the neighbour’s dogs. Even worse (in my mind) it let out the warm air. I shudder at the thought. I’ll use my kitchen vent instead, and I’ve already stopped drafts with some well-placed weatherstripping.
- Hiring a professional. The epic feud between Ralphie's dad and his furnace is great onscreen but best avoided in real life. I leave it in the hands of a professional who can make sure it’s running safely and at its peak efficiency. You can find a qualified contractor through the Trade Ally Network program. The one maintenance tip I do take care of personally though, is to replace my furnace filter every three months.
- Dressing for the weather. Ralphie's mother knew a thing or two about dressing warm, just ask his brother who she wrapped up so tight, he lost the use of his arms. I’ll be letting my kids know to set those shorts and sandals aside for winter and to reach for a warm sweater, pair of socks and slippers instead. Use of their arms? Optional.
- Giving energy-conscious gifts is better than a bunny suit. The infamous pink bunny suit from Auntie Clara looked warm and cosy but was a gift-giving fail. Like many, consumer electronics fill my gift-giving list this year; however, the cost of operating these products can be as much, or more, than the purchase price over time. Fortunately, many products have become increasingly efficient and more than 70 types are now eligible for ENERGY STAR® certification in Canada. When I have a choice between two similar products, I’ll avoid a gift-giving fail and choose the one with the ENERGY STAR symbol.
I triple dog dare you to come up with your own ways to save over the holidays and we guarantee, you won't shoot your eye out.