Crunching the numbers: How much could you save by putting Christmas lights up later?

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Christmas is a time to celebrate, and with a recent Creditfix survey revealing that 67% of people are stressed about spending money this Christmas, will people be more conscious about putting their Christmas lights on this year?

As the cost of living crisis continues, families across the country are growingly concerned about the expenses of energy costs and consumption.

The weather’s getting colder, and energy bills continue to be extremely high, ahead of the Price Cap rise of 5% in January 2024.

Before we deck the halls and untangle the fairy lights, it’s worth knowing how much it will cost to run your Christmas lights – whether at home or outside.

How much electricity do Christmas lights use?

UK Debt Expert has looked at product information for 16 Christmas lights available from UK retailers, for indoor and outdoor use. We then looked at the wattage and current cost of electricity at 27.4p/kwh, to understand how much energy they might use over an hour, six hour and daily period. According to Ideal Home, the average household has their Christmas lights on for six hours per day.

Once we had this information, we calculated how much each different Christmas light would cost to run, and how much it might cost you in 2023 to light up your homes for the festive season.

Our research found that if you wait two more weeks until 15 December to put up your lights, rather than on 1 December, you could save almost £700 in energy costs, and still run them until 5 January.

This figure is based on homes that are lit up and glowing with all 16 types of lights analysed, including a Santa and Tree Archway, an LED santa train light and a shooting star rope light.

Many families and homeowners may choose to go for a more subtle combination of fairy lights and an inflatable snowman can still expect to save £40 in costs if they wait two weeks – on the provision that their items are plugged in and turned on for six hours a day.

For those that do want to light out the outside of their homes, it will cost more. It’s likely to cost around £287 for three LED rope lights outside your house, from 1 December to 5 January – which can be cut by at least £50 if you leave it a week later to deck your house out.

The most expensive light to run was a multi LED Santa and Tree archway, at 81p per hour, followed by an LED toyland arch rope light, for people wanting to make their house look like Santa’s Workshop. The cheapest lights to run were indoor fairy lights, at an estimated cost of 12p per day.

How much do Christmas lights cost to run?

How long your lights are on for, how many bulbs you have, and the amount of days you have your lights on for will substantially affect the energy cost overall. It’s really important to be aware of the cost of any extra appliances, so you can stick within your budget and know what figures to expect in your utility bills.

Using UK Debt Expert’s research, we have created a handy Christmas Lights Calculator tool for 2023. All you need to do is input the type of lights you’re likely to put up this year, how long you usually switch them on for, and the date you plan to put up your decorations, before putting them back in the loft, to understand how much they could cost you over the festive season.

Christmas Lights Calculator
Rope Light (eg. LED Merry Christmas Rope Light)
Tinsel Light (eg. LED Christmas Tree Tinsel Light)
Motif (eg. LED snowflake light)
Inflatable (eg. inflatable Santa)
Freestanding items (eg. light-up snowman)
Fairy lights
How many hours will the lights be on each day?

If you’re struggling with the rising cost of energy bills this Christmas, or are worried into falling into debt, you’re not alone. Get in touch with the team at UK Debt Expert  where we can discuss the options and debt solutions that are available to you, including an IVA.



We have looked at 16 different Christmas light items available from Wilko and Argos, and looked at the wattage to understand how much energy they use.

We then used current kwh/hour costs of 27.4p to understand how much it will cost per hour to use each item, and created a number of scenarios to learn how much they would cost to run over time. All of the data uses the end date of 5th January, as this is 12 days after Christmas.

Maxine McCreadie

Maxine McCreadie

Author/Debt Expert

Maxine McCreadie, prominent personal finance writer featured in Vogue and Yahoo News, delivers practical guidance, simplifying money management and championing financial literacy.

How we reviewed this article:


Our debt experts continually monitor the personal finance and debt industry, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

November 30 2023

Written by
Maxine McCreadie

Edited by
Ben McCormack

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