Are you a Real Christmas Tree or Fake Ch

Are you a Real Christmas Tree or Fake Christmas Tree Person?
How do real Christmas trees and fake Christmas trees stack up when it comes to the environment and cost? We’ve got the dirt.
Real Christmas trees are better for the environment than fake Christmas trees: They’re renewable and recyclable, unlike that petroleum-derived faux model.
In terms of price there’s not much difference between the real and fake varieties, unless you get really fancy with a fake. Depending on where you live and the size and species of tree you buy, the real deal runs about $20 to $150 annually.

You can pick up a basic fake Christmas tree for less than $20 at some big-box retailers. Prices go up from there to as much as $430 for a deluxe, already-lit number. Keep a faux tree in the family for at least a decade to goose up your holiday gift fund and mitigate the pileup in your local landfill.

If you insist on replacing your fake tree every year to change things up, donate your old one to a charity, a resale shop, or Freecycle.

All I Want for Christmas is the Greenest of Trees. What Do I Look For?
Visit a local Christmas tree farm. Christmas tree farmland often can’t be used for other crops, says Brian Clark Howard, an environmental reporter. When the tree farmers plant new trees, the growing young trees combat climate change by absorbing carbon. And tree farms conserve soil — farmers only till the land once every six or eight years.

If you buy from a Christmas tree lot, your tree was likely shipped from Oregon or North Carolina, and getting it to you created pollution, Howard says.
Do business with a local Christmas tree farmer who grows organic Christmas trees without pesticides. Whether an organic tree costs more depends on where you live.

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Solar Christmas lights don’t cost anythi

Solar Christmas lights don’t cost anything to operate, but are they better than plug-in LED strings?
In the last few years, energy-efficient LED holiday lights have largely replaced more wattage-thirsty incandescent strings, resulting in significant savings — LED lights use 50% less energy than their incandescent predecessors, and they last up to 10 times longer as well.
Now there’s a newish kid in the string-light neighborhood: LED solar Christmas lights promise grid-free festive lighting.

Powering up Solar Christmas Lights

A string of solar Christmas lights uses a small solar panel for power; there are no extension cords that must be plugged into outlets. The panel — about the size of a hockey puck — powers rechargeable batteries that illuminate a 25- to 100-bulb string of LED lights.

Panels come with small stakes so you can put them in the ground, where they can take advantage of the sun. A fully-charged string of lights should glow for six to eight hours after the sun goes down.

Solar Lights vs. LED Plug-In Costs

Pricing for solar-powered and plug-in LED holiday lights runs neck and neck.

Compare purchase prices:
A 100-light string of miniature solar-powered LED lights costs about $20 to $40.
A 100-light string of miniature plug-in LED lights costs about $20 to $46.
Compare costs to operate:
Operating a string of plug-in LED holiday lights for 300 hours — more than enough time for an entire holiday season — costs about 24 cents, using an average energy cost of 12 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).
Solar-powered Christmas lights, of course, don’t cost anything to operate. That means you’re saving 24 cents per year in energy costs.
Advantages of Solar Lights
No extension cords
No need for exterior electrical outlets
Withstand cold temperatures and precipitation
Zero cost to operate
Light output comparable to plug-in lighting
Green option
May not operate under cloudy skies
Unproven longevity (too new on the market for results)

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| Debbie Schwanbeck

Do you need a bridge Loan? The Home Team

Do you need a bridge Loan? The Home Team Mortgage bridge loan is an exclusive loan product available to well qualified borrowers who would like to sell their present home and purchase another, but who need the equity from their present home to complete the purchase transaction.

With a bridge loan from Home Team Mortgage, there is no need for sales contingencies, and buyers can depend on timely closings.

A Home Team Mortgage bridge loan offers attractive interest rates, minimal closing costs, an easy approval process, and convenient simultaneous closings of both the present home and the newly purchased home.

For complete details on how you can list your present home for sale today and enjoy the advantages of a Home Team Mortgage bridge loan to facilitate the purchase of another home, consult your favorite Ebby Halliday Companies’ real estate professional or contact a Home Team Mortgage Loan Officer at | Debbie Schwanbeck |