This Is How Much All Those Christmas Lights Really Raise Your Electric Bill

These numbers may have you rethink your light display.

As soon as Thanksgiving arrives, people start hanging their Christmas lights and keep them shining brightly until the New Year. But all that holiday cheer comes with some extra dollar signs on your electricity bill.

In 2017, Wonkblog’s northern Minnesota bureau did some math to see how much all of those twinkling lights are really costing you, calculating the total cost of running your lights from Black Friday to New Year’s. That’s a grand total of 45 days, running 12 hours per day, assuming an electricity price of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

  • C9 incandescent, string of 25 lights = $15.12
  • Mini incandescent, string of 100 lights = $3.53
  • C9 LED, string of 25 lights = $0.21
  • Mini LED, string of 100 lights = $0.41

We’re sure you’re thinking, “No big deal, I’ll just use the LED bulbs next time. What’s a couple cents?” But remember, that’s only one string of lights—covering your entire house and yard in lights means spending way more money. If you want to be able to afford presents for the whole family, you may want to stick to a simple string of lights around your house. Better yet, save the money and take a trip to one of the best small towns for Christmas lights.

If you still want to be the biggest light display on the block no matter the cost, let these outrageous Christmas light displays inspire you.

Popular Videos

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.