It’s that time of year when the Christmas lights go up and houses and trees in the neighborhood look festive! However, each year I hear the same question “how much does it cost to have Christmas lights plugged in?”

Most people probably think back to Clark Griswold and his extremely lit up house in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. His electric bill could be through the roof but that’s because he used more holiday lights than most people. For the average person you’ll only see a few extra dollars while running your Christmas lights.

To prove my point I contacted Xcel Energy who is the main electric company here in Minnesota. I asked if they had information on how much Christmas lights would cost over the holidays. And here is what they said.

“Thank you for taking the time to write to us. Below is a the formula to calculate the cost if you know the wattage of the string of lights.

WATTS times HOURS divided by 1000 = KWH
KWH times RATE = cost.

Example:
100 watt string of lights times hours of monthly use (based on 8 hours a day for a month which would be 240 hours) =24000 watts divided by 1000 =24 kwhs.

24 kwhs X 7.5 cents = $1.80 per month.

So if you know the wattage of the string you can calculate the cost.”

Now I’m not sure what an average 100 string of Christmas lights runs in watts, but I think it’s about 50 watts. That means our example above is 200 lovely mini Christmas lights. A set of 25 C9 colored lights runs about 175 watts I believe. So that sing may run a little more. Watts from this Christmas Store

Now, as you can see, adding some Christmas lights to your house doesn’t cost that much. Especially if the lights are newer since they have newer technology and energy conservation. Now if you go and decorate everything like Clark Griswold your electric bill may go up by 10 or 20 dollars. It all depends on the kind of lights, the number of hours you have them lit and the price of electricity in your area.