Christmas lights


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For those of you who are overzealous with Christmas lights like Clark Griswold in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" or trying to outdo your neighbor's decorations, your Christmas spirit might come at a price — literally. Consumers with elaborate incandescent light displays could see their electricity bills surge by hundreds of dollars, experts say.

If you have two bushes in front of your house covered in LED string lights, your sticker shock likely will be minimal when you receive your December electric bill. On the other hand, your house doesn't need to illuminate the neighborhood to raise your power bill, according to Florida Power & Light. Consumers with animated snow globes in their yards pay about $15 more a month for that decoration alone.

How elaborate your display is and the type of lighting used factor into how your bill is affected, a spokesperson for Southern California Edison told USA Today. The power company broke down how much more energy certain displays use when turned on from 5-11 p.m. each day:

  • Average display using LED lights: 18 added kilowatt-hours a month
  • Average display using incandescent lights: 118 added kilowatt-hours a month
  • Elaborate display using LED lights: 168 added kilowatt-hours a month
  • Elaborate display using incandescent lights: 1,265 added kilowatt-hours a month

Gallery: How Much Utilities Cost the Average Household in Your State

Along with using LED lights to conserve energy, another way to keep costs down is to turn your lights off manually or set them on a timer, a spokesperson for power company DTE Energy told USA Today. Of course, you could always consider a plastic Santa, sleigh, and fleet of reindeer for your yard and steer away from electric decorations altogether. After all, Clark Griswold had those as part of his display too.

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