It’s the season for homes and businesses to get into the holiday spirit by draping their buildings and trees with sparkling lights, cover your yards with whimsical animals. Have you ever wanted to decorate for the holidays with abandon? Do you wonder how much ‘that over-the-top Christmas house’ is spending? We have some figures to let you know just what it takes to add the lights, sparkle, and reindeer.
An American home fully decked out with incandescent lights and moving animals or figures might spend an extra $60 – $100 for the month of December. We used modest displays to calculate, but you’ll get the idea in case you’re ready to go all out! See how we came to that figure, by looking at some of the most popular decorations for the season:
The Christmas tree is the centerpiece of holiday decorations in most homes. Many people now opt for the pre-lit tree, by-passing the wrapping of the tree in strings of lights. Just plug it in and let the holiday cheer begin. A 7.5 foot tree comes equipped with about 650 incandescent mini-bulbs. At an average of 0.45 watts per bulb, that’s a total of 292.5 watts — or roughly 0.29 kilowatts — that the pre-lit tree uses at any time.
In most homes the tree is turned on in the evening and is left on overnight. So, for 12 hours every day throughout the month of December, that is 372 hours or about 109 kWh of energy used by the pre-lit tree during the holiday season. If we use an average cost of 23.9 cents per kW hour in CA, in total, the energy to power the pre-lit tree during the month of December will end up costing just over $26.00.
Assuming the modest use of lights to decorate your home’s exterior, here is where the use of LED lights instead of incandescent will save you the most in energy costs. Assuming you also turn those on for 12 hours every day during the month of December, you’d use a total of about 18 kWh of energy, which would cost $4.30 vs. $36.09. You may pay a premium for LEDs at the store, so it’s good to know the incandescent comparison, as well.
Moving reindeer are adorable and can add warmth to your holiday display. But each of those little darlings come at a cost. One 60-inch reindeer with 250 incandescent lights would use about 42 kWh of energy during the holiday season, which adds up to $10.04 extra in electricity consumption on your energy bill. It’s probably a good idea to keep the herd size down.
Inflatables Like Snow Globes and Santa
Inflatable lawn decorations are probably the most expensive, not only to purchase but also for the amount of electricity they use. A large, animated inflatable can use about 200 watts at any time. Because they are visible day and night, we assume they are plugged in for 24 hours a day during the entire month of December for a total of 149 kWh, adding almost $36 to your energy bill.
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