How Much Will My Christmas Lighting Cost Me?

Posted on Posted in Atlantic City electric rates, Jersey Central Power & Light, New Jersey electric rates, PSEG, Rockland Electric Company, Save Energy, Save Money
Holiday lighting decorations can use a lot of electricity in New Jersey —if you use the wrong lighting!
Holiday lighting decorations can use a lot of electricity. Here’s how you can still afford them but keep your New Jersey electric bills lower this season.

How Much Will I Spend On Lighting This Christmas?

It’s perhaps the first thing we think of when we picture our home at Christmas; draped in strings of lights, flashing and twinkling in all the colors of the rainbow. Beautiful, and an irreplaceable part of a New Jersey Christmas. But lighting up all those bulbs uses up a lot of electricity, especially for an entire month. So how much will you spend on lighting this Christmas, and can you do anything to save money on electricity?

How Much Electricity Do Christmas Lights Use?

Nationally, Americans consume about 6.63 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in order to light up their Christmas decorations. That’s a hard number to picture, so to put it in perspective, some countries – Ethiopia, El Salvador, and Tanzania, use less electricity than that in an entire year. The amount of electricity that your home’s display consumes is mostly dependent on the type of bulbs you use.

Old-fashioned incandescent bulbs eat up a lot more electricity, about 10 times as much, leading to a much higher electricity bill. If you’re looking to cut down on electricity usage this Christmas, LED lights are a much better bet.

How Much Will I Spend On Christmas Lighting?

Firstly, let’s talk about the different bulb types you’ll probably be using. Here are the most common incandescent and LED size christmas light bulbs:


  • Mini Bulbs: 0.41 watts per bulb
  • Two-Inch C7 Bulb: 5 watts per bulb
  • Three-Inch C9 Bulb: 7 watts per bulb


  • LED Mini: 0.07 watts per bulb
  • LED C9: 0.09 watts per bulb

To work out how much you’re paying in electricity, there’s a simple estimation you can perform. Multiply the number of bulbs you have by the number of watts each bulb uses. So, if you have 5 100-bulb strings of incandescent C7 bulbs, you’ll need to do 5 x 100 x 5 = 2,500.

Now times that by the number of pennies you pay per kWh. A typical rate might be about 12 cents per kWh, though electricity rates in New Jersey will vary, so 12 x 2,500 = 30,000. To convert our watts into kWh, we need to divide by 1,000. That gives us a total of 30,000 / 1,000 = $30.

Here’s an example:

10 x 100-bulb strings of incandescent C7 bulbs on the eaves: 1,000 x 5 x 12 cents per kWh = 60,000 cents. Divided by 1,000, this makes $60

5 x 100-bulb strings of LED C9 bulbs around front porch: 500 x 0.09 x 12 cents per kWh = 5,400 cents, divided by 1,000 makes $5.40.

Simply add together all your different lighting strings and you’ll have a good idea of what you’re spending. A low-usage home might only spend around $10 in total, while talk-of-the-neighborhood extravaganzas can cost several hundred dollars.

So How Can I Save Money On Electricity This Christmas?

Well, there’s one immediate way to cut down on electricity costs. Switching from incandescent to LED bulbs saves a huge amount of electricity, as you can see from the calculations above.

Even the largest LED bulb uses less than a quarter of the power of the smallest incandescent bulb. You can even use our rough usage costs to work out whether switching to LED lights will save you electricity this Christmas:

10 x 100-bulb strings of C7 Incandescents: 1,000 x 5 x 12 = 60,000 cents / $60

10 x 100-bulb strings of C9 LEDs: 1,000 x 0.09 x 12 = 1,080 / $1.08

So by upgrading to LED lights you’ll save $60 per year. That’s a pretty great investment!

Of course, the easiest way to save money on Christmas lighting is to find a cheap electricity deal in New Jersey. Check out to find the best deals that fit your family’s needs.

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