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How much do Christmas lights cost to run?

‘Tis the season to be jolly - and what better way to express your holiday jolliness than by wrapping your home in hundreds of twinkling Christmas lights? 

 Whether you want to hang a few tasteful lights around the living room or engineer an extravagant Las Vegas-esque display that’ll light up the whole neighbourhood, getting creative with Christmas lights is the perfect way to kick start the holiday season. 

Best of all, powering a beautiful Christmas light display probably won’t have much of an impact on your power bill. 

How much do Christmas lights cost to run? What can you do to keep costs down over the holidays? And where can you find the best light displays in New Zealand? We’ve got the answers to all these questions and more!

Crunching the numbers

One of the most common misconceptions about Christmas lights is that they cost a lot to run. While that might have been true in the past, modern LED lights are about 80-90 percent more efficient than older incandescent lights of the same wattage and won’t add much to your electricity bill at all.

Let’s assume you’re using LED lights and want to keep your display switched on for five hours a night for the month of December. Powering a typical, modest home lighting decoration will add less than $5 to your power bill. For larger decorations, you’re looking at an additional $20 or so, while massive displays - the type of lighting spectacles that draw crowds of ogling visitors to your house - will run you about $60. 

How you can reduce your power bill this Christmas

Thanks to their incredible efficiency, LED Christmas lights probably won’t add much to your power bill. But if you want to be even more efficient, there are a few things you can do to further reduce your energy consumption. 

1. Invest in solar Christmas lights

A simple way to reduce your power bill this Christmas is to invest in solar lights. Powered by the sun’s energy, solar lights literally cost nothing to run, making them a great option for anyone thinking about making an outdoor lighting display. The only downside is that they obviously rely on sunlight to function, which means they’ll only stay lit up for a few hours after the sun goes down. 

2. Put your lights on a timer

Switching on your Christmas lights for a few hours a day won’t have much effect on your power bill, but leaving them running 24/7 certainly will. Eliminate this risk by putting your lights on an electrical timer. Timers can be programmed to switch on and off at whatever times you specify, which can help you save money on power. You can pick up a digital timer at your local hardware store for about $15. 

3. Plan your decorations

Making a pretty little display for the kids? Want to create a massive lighting spectacle that’ll knock your neighbour’s socks off? 

Whatever it is you have in mind, take some time to plan your decorations before rushing off to the store. Measure the length of the roof, window or tree that you want to decorate, think about optimal viewing angles and try not to purchase more lights than you need. It’s also worth noting that flashing lights consume almost double the amount of electricity as solid lights.

Where to see the best Christmas light displays in NZ

Looking for some creative inspiration for your Christmas decorations? Every year, hundreds of homes, garden and storefronts across the country are transformed into twinkling Christmas wonderlands. We’ve put together a list of the best places in the country to see some Christmas lights in 2019.

Franklin Road, Auckland

Simply put, Franklin Road is the best place in Auckland to see some fantastic Christmas lights. Every December, the residents of Franklin Road adorn their houses in beautiful lights, transforming the iconic street into something of an open-air Christmas gallery. The lights are on nightly from December 1 through to Christmas, so grab the kids or book a date night and enjoy the displays.

Motat, Auckland

Every year, MOTAT celebrates the holiday season by turning the museum into a Christmas festival. There’s something to delight visitors of all ages, including light displays, live music, Christmas-themed movies, photos with Santa, food trucks and even an ice skating rink! The event runs from December 13 - 24, 8pm to 11pm nightly. Entry is free for kids under 5 and just $2 for everyone else. 

TSB Festival of Lights, New Plymouth

The TSB Festival of Lights transforms Taranaki’s most treasured botanical garden, Pukekura Park, into a magical land of lights, music and entertainment. The event is completely free and runs from 8.30pm to 11pm every night from December 14 to February 1.

Tremains Christmas Lights, Hawke’s Bay

Every year, Tremains Real Estate sponsors homes and businesses in the Hawke’s Bay region to decorate their properties with Christmas lights. The lights are switched on from December 1 to December 24. Take a guided bus tour (tickets are $5 and can be purchased from any Tremain Real Estate office) or see the lights at your own pace by downloading the Christmas light maps here

Christchurch Christmas Lights Show, Christchurch

The Christchurch Christmas Lights Show is a favourite among festive Cantabrians. The annual event features half a million lights synchronised to music by local and international rock bands - a welcome respite if you’re feeling a bit burned out from Christmas carols. The event runs until December 30 and is open nightly from 8.30pm. Entry is $5 per person. 

Save money on your power bill this Christmas

Is cheaper electricity on your Christmas wish list? Whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year, we’ve got you covered. Give us a call today on 0800 785 733 to find out how much money you could save with Pulse Energy. 


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