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LEDs may change Christmas lights forever

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While most folks don't have the bulk purchasing power of the Oregon Zoo when buying Christmas lights, the increasing affordability of energy-saving LEDs is fast making them the wise choice for home use.

Jerry Whitmore, manager of Uptown Hardware on Northwest 23rd Place, says he has watched the shift over the years.

'The LEDs are going to be the wave of the future. They're getting cheaper each year. They're a lot safer. Everything about them is better,' Whitmore says. 'Right now they're more expensive, but I think that's going to change.'

The store sells a string of 100 incandescent bulbs for $7.99. Twenty-foot strings of 60 LEDs in two sizes - the C3 minilights and the traditional, teardrop-shaped C6 - cost between $12.99 and $14.99.

'Right now it's probably two or three to one, regular incandescent to LED,' Whitmore says. 'But each year it's getting better. Most people are open to it.'

The manager says it isn't hard to sell customers on the varied advantages of the LEDs, which are acknowledged to be safer, more efficient, more durable, and more impressive to look at, although that's not apparent in a brightly lit store.

'It needs to be dark to get the effect,' Whitmore says.

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