Your Christmas lights could be adding to your electricity bill - here’s how to save

House with Christmas lights
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

With Christmas on the way, many have already begun to decorate for the holiday by setting up lights on their porch or brightening up the Christmas tree. 

While hanging up lights will boost your Christmas cheer, it may also be adding to your electricity bill. With energy prices already high, knowing how much energy your holiday decor is using could help you save on your electricity bill this December. 

How much do Christmas lights cost to run

Christmas tree lights

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Since 2021 the national average cost of running Christmas lights has increased $1.93, or 13%, bringing it to $16.48 (opens in new tab) this year. Considering Christmas tree prices (opens in new tab) have also increased from last year, this holiday could prove to be more expensive than usual. 

To determine how much your specific Christmas lights will cost, you’ll need to divide the wattage of your lights by 1000. This will determine the kilowatt hours (KwH), or how much energy the lights use in one hour. Check your energy bill to see how much your energy rate per Kw is and multiply. Here’s the formula: [wattage/1000 x time in hours] x cost per kWh in cents = how much it costs to run Christmas lights

While running Christmas lights uses relatively little energy, it all adds up. With inflation on the rise this Christmas season, you could benefit by conserving energy and unplugging them when you're not home. 

 How to save on Christmas lights

LED Christmas lights

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The type of bulb you choose can help you save money on Christmas lights. While many older lights are made with incandescent bulbs, switching to LED lights can help you cut your costs drastically. In fact, LED lights can run on only 25% (opens in new tab) of the wattage incandescent bulbs use. Although LED light strands typically cost more upfront, they could help save on your electricity bill in the long run. 

For example, according to USA Today (opens in new tab), if you light your decorations from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. each day from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31, here's how much your bill could jump. 

  •  Average decorations with LED lights: $5 to $7 increase 
  •  Average decorations with incandescent lights: $33 increase 
  •  Elaborate decorations using LED lights: $47 increase 
  •  Elaborate decorations using incandescent lights: $350 increase

Another simple way to save this December is by opting for solar-powered lights to decorate the outside of your home. They’ll charge during the day, helping you save on energy costs. Opting for battery powered smaller decorations will also keep you from using extra energy.

Erin Bendig
Staff writer, personal finance

Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing personal finance advice with others. Previously, she was a freelancer focusing on the credit card side of finance, but has branched out since then to cover other aspects of personal finance. Erin is well-versed in traditional media with reporting, interviewing and research, as well as using graphic design and video and audio storytelling to share with her readers.