My favorite part of the holiday season, besides family time, fighting over Furbys and eating my weight in peppermint bark, is adorning my Christmas tree and both the interior and exterior of my house with holiday lights. Well, those pretty lights are my favorite part of the season right up until I get my electric bill in January. Every year, I open the bill and my jaw drops in disbelief, my heart skips a beat, and I can literally feel the tugging on my purse strings. Last year, my bill was a whopping $200 over what I normally pay in utilities for a winter month, and it’s not like I was trying to enter Good Morning America’s Holiday Light Contest. I only used 10 strands of 25 large bulb C9 incandescent lights (250 lights total) and kept them on about 6 hours a day for 6 weeks. 200 bucks! Poof! Gone! Talk about starting the new year off on a financial misstep! Bah humbug!

Fortunately, there’s a way to enjoy holiday lights without wreaking havoc on your budget: simply use LED holiday lights instead of your older style incandescent lights. Not only are the cost savings significant, but also there are several other advantages to using LED holiday lights over incandescent lights.

Advantages of Using of LED over Incandescent Holiday Lights

  • They’re greener: Unfortunately, the holiday season has become all about consumerism. And not just for shopping—the holiday season is also a time of massive environmental consumerism.
    • According to a Department of Energy survey, holiday lighting consumes over six terawatt hours per year, which is equivalent to the monthly energy consumption of half a million U.S. homes. This extreme Christmas-time energy consumption results in wasteful burning of our natural resources such as coal, oil and natural gas.
    • Incandescent holiday lights also produce harmful carbon dioxide emissions, which produce extreme weather changes, disrupt the earth’s ecosystems, and cause potentially damaging health effects for people. If you use incandescent holiday lights 12 hours a day for 6 weeks, you will release 882 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
    • Also, since LED lights have to be replaced less often, there is less waste product filling up our landfills.
  • They’re safer
    • Unlike incandescent lights, LED lights do not produce heat since their energy is light-emitting rather than heat-emitting. As such, they are cool to the touch, thus eliminating the burn risk omnipresent with incandescent lights.
    • Since LED lights don’t heat up and combust, using them means you have a reduced fire-hazard risk.
    • LED lights are also mercury-free.
  • They’re longer-lasting
    • By conservative estimates, LED lights last 10 times longer than incandescent lights. While LED lights may cost more than incandescent lights, you will have to replace them considerably less often, thus saving you money in the long run.
    • Also, with incandescent lights, the glass bulbs can be removed from the socket, making the bulbs prone to breaking. On the other hand, the bulbs in LED lights are made out of unbreakable epoxy plastic and are firmly glued into the socket.
  • They’re easier to Install: You can connect up to 25 strings of LED lights end-to-end without overloading your wall electrical socket. By comparison, you can only do this with 6 strings of incandescent lights.
  • Their color is more durable: With colored incandescent lights, the color is painted onto the bulb and can easily fade in the sunlight, chip or peel off, leading to unsightly bulbs when the lights are turned off and spotty color when the lights are turned on. On the other hand, with LED lights, the color is in the bulb’s diode and plastic, meaning it won’t chip, peel, or fade.

Cost Savings Analysis

So how much money can you expect to save by switching from LED holiday lights to incandescent holiday lights? In the table below, I crunched the numbers for large bulb lights and mini lights of both the “old style”/incandescent  and “new style”/LED variety.


For help calculating the total electricity cost for the specific type and amount of holiday lights you bought, use this electricity bill calculator.

You will need to enter three pieces of information in the calculator:

  1. The wattage used by each string of lights. To find the amount, simply multiply the wattage of each bulb (this should be in the manufacturer’s or retailer’s information on the product) by the number of bulbs on the string (e.g., 7 Watts x 25 bulbs = 125).
  2. The numbers of hours per day that you keep your lights on (e.g. 12 hours per day).
  3. The electricity rate you’re charged in your area (e.g. 18 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh)).
  • Then click on “Calculate” and check out your electricity cost per day for one string of lights (e.g., $0.01296).
  • Multiply this amount by the number of days you will be keeping your lights on (e.g., $0.01296 x 30 days = $11.34)
  • Then multiply that number by the number of light strings you have (e.g., If you used 10 strings of light, then $11.34 x 10 strings = $113.40).


The Results

Large C7 or C9 Bulbs:

  • Incandescent Large Bulb, 10 Strings of 25 Bulbs (250 Bulbs Total); used 12 hours a day for 30 days: $113.40
  • LED Large Bulb, 10 Strings of 25 Bulbs (250 Bulbs Total), used 12 hours a day for 30 days: $1.30
  • Savings: $112.10 or 98.85%

In addition, you will also save additional money over the years by not having to replace the LED bulbs as often as you would incandescent bulbs.

Mini Bulbs:

  • Incandescent Mini Bulb, 10 Strings of 100 Bulbs (1000 Bulbs Total); used 12 hours a day for 30 days: $25.92
  • LED Mini Bulb, 10 Strings of 100 Bulbs (1000 Bulbs Total); used 12 hours a day for 30 days: $3.888
  • Savings: $22.03 or 86.03%

In addition, you will also save additional money over the years by not having to replace the LED bulbs as often as you would incandescent bulbs.


Save Up to 99% on Your Holiday Electric Bill with LED Lights