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Christmas lights cost Brits nearly £4m a year! Here’s how to keep Yuletide energy costs down

Christmas lights cost Brits nearly £4m a year! Here’s how to keep Yuletide energy costs down
Image source: Getty Images

We’ve almost reached that most wonderful time of year when we deck the halls, adorn every spare inch of the house with twinkly Christmas lights and gorge ourselves on chocolate in front of the telly. (Or maybe that’s just what happens in our house.)

Gluttony aside, powering the UK’s Christmas lighting frenzy costs us a combined £3.75 million each year according to Checkatrade

But it’s not just keeping our Christmas lights on that costs eye-watering sums. On the big day itself, households consume vast amounts of energy and it all adds up. Here’s how and what you can do to help cut gas and electricity bills this Christmas. 

How much do Brits spend on energy at Christmas?

Christmas spending isn’t just about buying the food we eat and the presents we share. There’s also the cost of the energy we use to consider. 

From cooking the turkey to lighting up the Christmas tree and watching TV, our regular Yuletide activities cost us a fortune in energy.

In fact, data analysed by trade electrical supplier Electrical Direct reveal UK households use £66 million worth of electricity on Christmas Day alone. It’s a staggering amount that could actually power the Blackpool Illuminations for 406 years. 

And while most appliances like our TVs don’t use that much energy, collectively watching our favourite TV programmes leaves us all with a hefty price tag.

Astonishingly, the BBC’s 90-minute Call the Midwife Christmas Special will cost us £261,000 to watch. The surge in energy demand as more than eight million households settle down to watch the show will be the equivalent of 190,000 kettles boiling simultaneously, says the National Grid.

But it’s not just on Christmas Day that we haemorrhage money on energy costs. The whole of December sees an 11% increase in average monthly electricity costs.

Quick and easy ways to lower energy use and save money this Christmas

There are lots of ways to lower your energy consumption and keep bills down throughout the year. But here are five quick wins that can help keep costs down, especially over Christmas.

1. Switch to LED Christmas lights

If you’re still bringing out those ancient Christmas lights from 15 years ago, perhaps it’s time to ditch them for LED lights instead.

LEDs use around 90% less energy than old-style incandescent light bulbs. They also last much longer. The average LED bulb lasts for 50,000 hours compared to a measly 2,000 for incandescent bulbs. 

2. Time the turkey

Very few of us leave Christmas dinner to chance. But meticulous timing doesn’t just mean eating when you plan to. Careful planning can ensure you don’t waste energy too.

For example, if you know you want to eat at 2pm, set out exactly what needs to go in the oven and when. That way, you’ll know when to start warming the oven rather than just leaving it on ‘for when you’re ready’ (something I’m sometimes guilty of). 

And while it sounds extreme, if you’re using the oven to heat up hors d’oeuvres throughout the day, it helps to choose treats that cook at the same temperature. This minimises the problem of keeping some things warm in a second oven or cooking them separately.

3. Turn off lights when not in use

I’m not necessarily talking about the Christmas ones here. I mean the lights in rooms that you’re not in. 

It’s a pretty basic thing to remember, but if you’ve got children (like mine) that ‘forget’ to switch off lights when they leave the room, making sure they do it can help keep energy bills in check.

4. Use timers

Timers are particularly useful if you have outdoor Christmas lights. Using a timer means not having to worry if you forget to manually turn them off before bed. 

Keeping your tree lights on a timer is good from a safety perspective. It minimises the risk of your Christmas tree igniting and causing a fire while you’re asleep. 

5. Lower the thermostat 

Turning down the thermostat by just 1°C could save you up to £80 a year according to USwitch. So, although it’s something you can do all year round, it’s a really easy one to do at Christmas, particularly if you’ve got a house full of guests. 

And if you start to feel cold, you can always put on another Christmas jumper and treat yourself to a few extra glasses of mulled wine.

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