How much does it cost to run Christmas lights?

Christmas lights in the suburbs - find out how much it costs to run Christmas lights

Christmas decorations are down from the loft and out of the garage, so we find out how much it costs to run Christmas fairy lights.

It’s time to deck the halls – if you haven’t already. But do you need to dim your Christmas spirit when it comes to lighting?

Energy prices remain sky-high, and doing an energy comparison and switching off the price cap and to a fixed deal will not make a dent in your bills. Households have already spent the last year trying to cut energy costs by using appliances at off-peak times and only switching the heating on when needed

Many are now wondering if they can afford to run their Christmas lights. So, we find out how much it costs to run popular fairy lights.

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How much does it cost to run Christmas lights?

The exact cost of running your Christmas lights will depend on several factors. This includes what lights you use, their length, how many bulbs, and how long you use them. 

To give you a rough estimate, here are a few examples of different kinds of Christmas lights and how much they cost to run. 

Christmas Tree Fairy Lights

Christmas tree with gifts near fireplace Christmas lights in the suburbs - find out how much it costs to run Christmas lights

Depending on how many fairy lights you use and the wattage, your cost will differ. 

If you have a smaller tree, these 480 Multicoloured LED Christmas Tree Lights from Argos will cost less than 1p if you run them for 10 hours a day. For the entire month of December, it would cost you around 31p.

However, if you want to go all out on your Christmas tree, these 1000 LED Christmas plug-in fairy lights will cost you 2p every day or 62p for a month.

Though these plug-in lights are double the price, you’re getting double the lights and it’ll still cost well under a quid for the whole festive season. 

Christmas Icicle Lights

Icicle lights are popular for their falling snow effect and are a great choice for outdoor Christmas decor. 

How much do Christmas icicle lights cost? Again, it depends on your house size, how much energy the lights consume and how long you run them. 

To give you an estimate: 

5m Icicle Lights and a 56cm Reindeer would cost you a total of 49p for the entire month of December to run. This is if you run it for 10 hours every day. 

On the other hand, 28m icicle lights would cost you 4p per day for 10 hours, so £1.26 for the whole month. 

Christmas Garlands

The Christmas tree is decorated with beautiful toys. Christmas background. Reindeers Christmas lights - Christmas tree with gifts near fireplace Christmas lights in the suburbs - find out how much it costs to run Christmas lights

A great way to spruce up your Christmas decor is by using a lit Christmas garland.  

Take 1.8M pre-lit garlands for example. These will cost you 1p if you run it for 10 hours a day, or 40p for the whole festive period. 

Battery-operated vs plug-in lights - which are cheaper to run this Christmas

The difference with battery-operated fairy lights is you’re not technically consuming energy from your home, but from the battery instead. 

So the running cost of battery-operated fairy lights depends on how much the batteries cost, how long they last and how long you have your lights on. 

From Argos, you can get a pack of 4 AA batteries for £4.75 or a pack of 12 which is £8.50

Light4fun says typically 2 to 3 AA batteries in fairy lights last for up to 50 hours. So if you use the Christmas lights for 10 hours every day, your batteries would need changing every five days. 

This means you would need to change the batteries at least six times to cover the entire month and require 18 batteries to last you over these 31 days.

If you buy the AA batteries from Argos, that’s 2 packs of 12 which would cost £17. That’s a hefty price to keep fairy lights running over Christmas – and a lot more expensive than plug-in lights.

If you get a choice, always opt for LED

Find out how much it costs to run Christmas lights

LED lights are more energy-efficient, use less energy and last longer than traditional lights. 

Though their upfront cost might be slightly higher, it’s worth investing in these and slashing your energy bills. 

Here’s why you should opt for LED lights: 

  • Better light output: If you want a more delicate effect on your tree, LEDs are a great option. Plus, with fewer bulbs, you can achieve the same light level as that of traditional lights. 
  • Energy efficient: LED Christmas lights use 75% less energy than traditional lights, according to the Department of Energy. Plus, this means that you can save money on your electricity bills. 
  • More options: You get to choose between a range of colours and temperatures, allowing you to really play around with your Christmas decorations. 
  • Cost-effective: Though the upfront cost of LED lights can be higher, you’ll make your money back in no time. Also, the durability of these lights makes it less likely that you have to replace them every year or two. 

The verdict: The trivial costs needn’t dim your festive spirit

table for dinner in xmas decoration. Find out how much it costs to run Christmas lights

Christmas lights are not too expensive to run, so you should be able to enjoy them without worrying about how much they are adding to your energy bills (see our help with energy costs article if you’re really struggling).  

Even if you run LED fairy lights for 10 hours a day, you wouldn’t be paying more than £1.50 for the entire month. 

Ultimately, it’s your decision whether you want Christmas fairy lights or not. You can also choose to put them on for as long as you wish and have as many lights as you like. Obviously, the less lights you have, or the shorter period you have them on for, the cheaper they’ll be to run. 

The important thing is that you don’t need to worry about them making a significant dent in your energy bill – unless the whole house is lit up like it was decorated by Buddy the Elf. So don’t let the trivial costs dim your Christmas spirit. 

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