Do Christmas Lights Use a Lot of Electricity?

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Of all the different Christmas traditions, one of the favorites for children is going around and looking at lights. There’s a certain magic in seeing houses decked out in all their lights and decorations but elaborate displays can use quite a bit of electricity, and therefore cost a pretty penny. Find out the different Christmas lights you can choose and which ones are the most energy-efficient.

Do Christmas lights use a lot of electricity? When putting up Christmas lights on your home, you can quickly get carried away. Not only do you want to show off your décor, but you might also be in competition with your neighbors. The more lights you have, the more energy it will take to run them, which equals a higher electricity bill. However, if you use energy-efficient lights and employ the use of a timer, you can greatly decrease the expense. Then, you can use these savings to invest in even more Christmas lights!

How much electricity does it cost to run Christmas lights?

The cost of your Christmas lights will depend on what type you are using, how often you have them on, and what your local electricity rate is.

LED lights are the better option as they use less electricity, but many people still use incandescent lights.

The average electricity rate in the United States is 10.42 cents per kilowatt-hour, so you will want to determine how many extra kilowatts of power your lights are using.

For LED lights, expect an extra 20 cents per day while incandescent lights can add over a dollar per day. More lights will mean more money.

Types of Christmas Lights


LED stands for light-emitting diodes, and they are one of the most energy-efficient options. LED lights now come in different sizes and colors and they don’t heat up, so don’t come with an extra risk of fire. However, because they don’t warm up, they won’t melt any snow that falls on top of them.


While these were the most common Christmas lights, many people are ditching incandescent lights for more energy-efficient LED lights. These emit light but also emit heat in the process, leading to a waste of energy.


If you really want to save money on your Christmas decorations, there are now many solar-powered Christmas light options. These individual strings will have their own solar panels attached to them.


When you want to decorate hard-to-reach areas, battery-powered holiday lights are a solid option. They usually come in the form of an object, such as a wreath or a tree, and have their own battery pack attached to them.


White Christmas lights evoke a sense of magic and traditional décor. However, there are many different shades of white to be aware of. Cold white lights will look bluer while yellow-white lights will give you a warmer feeling.


With multi-colored Christmas lights, you get a strand with alternating colors, usually red, green, blue, and yellow. These are different than single-colors, of which you can find varieties in every color imaginable.

Pathway Christmas Lights

If have a long driveway or a path to your front door, why not light it up. Not only are pathway lights pretty to look at, but they also serve a practical purpose in lighting up an area in the dark.


Made to mimic dangling icicles, these lights come in a single string with smaller strands hanging off it. Icicle lights are a great way to add depth to your home and fill in space under eaves.  


If you want to recreate the stars at night right in your very own home, mini lights are the way to go. Smaller than standard Christmas lights, they come in different colors and add a different proportion to your display.


A front door just isn’t complete without a wreath, and why not hang one with pre-lit lights. Wreath lights usually run on battery power so you can hang them on doors and not have to worry about stepping over cords.


When you have a bunch of bushes on your property, it’s nice to decorate them. Net Christmas lights come in the form of a net and you can easily drape them over top of a bush. It’s a lot easier than trying to uniformly string lights.


Plug-in lights are standard and the most commonly found. You will have a string of lights that needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet for power. Usually, you can plug multiple strings together for a continuous look.


With rope lights, you get a plastic housing with lights inside of them. The rope is more durable and easier to manipulate than a traditional string of lights. Rope lights are especially good if you want to wrap the trunks of your trees.


Those with large spaces on the front of their houses may be looking for an easy way to fill the area. With a projector, you simply set up a light on the ground and have it facing towards the area you want to be lit up.

Usually, projector lights will move around a bit and have multiple colors included.

Sizes of Christmas Bulbs

  • C3 – Small and tapered, usually used inside
  • C6 – Medium-sized with a tapered top
  • C7 – Standard outside lights with a tapered top
  • C9 – Larger than standard and meant for outside decorations

How to save electricity during Christmas?

Using LED Christmas lights is the best way to save electricity. They use 75% less power than incandescent lights and are now readily available.

You can also use a timer. Set it to go on at 5 PM, once it gets dark, and then turn off at 10 PM when you go to bed. Without a timer, you may turn your lights on too early, and possibly forget to turn them off at night.


Christmas lights make your street that much more festive and it’s natural to want to decorate for the holidays. Invest in the right lights that will match your décor and when possible, purchase LED lights that use less electricity and therefore cost less money to use.

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