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How much do Christmas lights cost to run?

How much do Christmas lights cost to run? Too much if you ask my dad. But if you’re concerned about getting into the festive spirit this Christmas, let’s take a look to see if you really can afford to light up your house.

How much do Christmas lights cost to run?
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How much do Christmas lights cost to run?

This depends on the number of bulbs you have, but most modern LED decorations will cost you between 1 and 2 pence for 6 hours of use. Over the course of a month, that’s the equivalent of 22 to 56 pence.

Bah humbug

I may have made a joke about my dad just a moment ago, but the truth is, the apple never falls far from the tree. I’m not a fan of Christmas lights, not because of the cost, but because I get fed up with putting them up and taking them down again.

So, with the hope of being able to tell my kids that they’re just too expensive, I decided to find out the true impact of lights on my electricity bill.

How much electricity do Christmas lights use?

Before we can look at the cost of running lights, we need to find out how much electricity they use. I’m going to take a look at LEDs, as these are the most commonly available. You’ll find that there’s very little difference in wattage between outside and inside lights.

If you’re still using the same lights that you bought 30 years ago, they will be using old-fashioned bulbs and will be costing you a fortune. Ditch them and upgrade to LED!

Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all answer to how much electricity Christmas lights use. It mainly depends on the manufacturer and the number of lights that are included. But with that said, when it comes to LED lights, the amount of power used doesn’t vary greatly.

Below is a rough guide to the number of lights and the watts they use.

Number of lightsWattage used
1203.6
4003.6
7206
1,0009
2,0009

larger LED lights

Larger LED bulbs can use more. For example, this range from B&Q uses 9 watts for just 20 lights.

Christmas LED dog

If you have an ornament like this dog, it’s not the size that counts, but the number of bulbs.

In this case, the dog has 40 LED bulbs, which use only 3.6 watts.


So, how much do Christmas lights cost to run?

Now we know how much electricity Christmas lights use (on average), we can work out the cost. The figures below assume a price of 34 pence per kWh, the current price cap.

Cost per 6 hoursCost per weekCost per month
120-400 bulbs0.01 pence0.05 pence0.22 pence
720 bulbs0.01 pence0.09 pence0.37 pence
1,000 – 2,000 bulbs0.02 pence0.13 pence0.56 pence

Remember, the table above should only be used as a guide. The wattage of your Christmas lights may vary, but it will be written on the packaging… if you still have it.

How about Christmas trees?

If you have a Christmas tree with lights built in, you will find that they can be a little more expensive to run.

A 7ft 6in tree with 300 to 500 bulbs can use as much as 15 watts. That works out at 3 pence per day for 6 hours, 21 pence per week and 93 pence per month.

Christmas lights – final thoughts

As you can see, the cost of lights at Christmas is relatively small. Even if you had 4,000 bulbs turned on around the home for 6 hours every day, at the end of the month, you’ll only be paying around £2 extra for your electricity bill.

I’ll just have to use another excuse as to why I can’t put the lights up this year…

Further reading

If you’re interested in saving money, why not take a look at my posts on how to cut your heating bills and the best energy-saving gadgets?

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