Lessons From 1973: Save Energy Using Homemade Christmas Ornaments

Save energy using homemade Christmas ornaments. During the 1973 oil crisis, folks used fewer lights to decorate for the holidays and instead used homemade decorations.

| December 2008/January 2009

  • Be creative and save energy: Dress your holiday tree with homemade decorations instead of lights.
    Be creative and save energy: Dress your holiday tree with homemade decorations instead of lights.
    Photo by Fotolia/Roman Milert

  • Be creative and save energy: Dress your holiday tree with homemade decorations instead of lights.

During the 1973 oil crisis, families used fewer lights for decorations and saved energy by using homemade Christmas ornaments.

Save Energy Using Homemade Christmas Ornaments

In the winter of 1973, Americans were urged to turn down the heat, turn off the lights and conserve energy. That presented a challenge to those accustomed to decorating lavishly with lights for the holidays.

The challenge was best met by the schoolchildren of America. While adults wondered how they could possibly decorate without lights, the children did what they had always done — decorated with construction paper, garland and paints.

Paper chains were used for more than decorating a tree. In one case they actually were the tree. A sixth grade class in Stambaugh, Michigan, made a frame for a tree using a floor lamp as the base, with a metal rod welded to the top and an umbrella frame welded on top of that. Each of the kids made a 9-foot green paper chain, which was attached to the top of the frame and taped to the floor, forming a tree trimmed with paper ornaments.

The challenge of decorating without electricity took Americans back to a simpler time. Windows became “stained glass” as youngsters and adults drew holiday designs on the glass with tempera paint. Soft candlelight was “in” again. Doors and interior walls were decorated in tissue and construction paper. Candy canes and paper chains trimmed trees, and old-fashioned “icicles” were back in style. Red plastic tablecloths were taped on exterior walls and bordered in tinsel, with paper letters spelling out greetings.

Some folks borrowed from a Southwest tradition and decorated with festive luminaries, anchoring candles in sand in the bottom of paper bags.

12/28/2008 12:52:53 PM

There is NOT a problem with importation of fuel for the creation of electricity in this country. We produce more than 50% of our electricity with domestically mined coal, 20% with domestically mined uranium for nuclear, the rest is made using domestically produced natural gas, hydraulic (think TVA and the dams of the west)with a minuscule fraction coming from oil. Why are we concerned with conservation of electricity only after the price of imported oil goes up? We should be conserving electricity for the reasons of CO2, lack of grid capacity (Most will never understand the concept of the grid which powers our electrical needs), and the fact that labor costs are the driving factor of alternative energy sources, not the cost of sunlight, wind, or even uranium. Compact florescent bulbs are a mercury source worse than any coal plant will ever be, and ALL CFLs are made in a communistic, slave labor country. Free trade should be done with people giving freedom.


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