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Saving Money on Christmas Lights

Category Lights
Decorating the house and tree with lights is a beautiful way to spread Christmas cheer. However, putting a strand of lights everywhere you like can really get expensive. This is a guide about saving money on Christmas lights.


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December 6, 20061 found this helpful

It may be time to retire some of the large incandescent Christmas lights you have been bringing out every year. You can save a bundle on your power bill by switching to LED Christmas lights. Here's a comparison of the new LED lights compared to small and large incandescent bulbs.

# of Lights Type of Light Energy Usage of Bulb 225 Hours*
(5 hours per day for 45 days)
Average Operating Cost*
300 New LED Lights 0.043 watts 2.9 kW/h $ .47
300 Mini Incandescent 0.45 watts 30.38 kW/h $ 4.92
300 Large Incandescent 7.00 watts 472.5 kW/h $ 76.55
* Calculated using the average residential rate effective
September 1, 2006.

Source: Pacific Gas and Electric Company

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December 20, 20140 found this helpful

I cannot agree with changing Christmas lights to LEDs. To date, I still have never seen an LED light string that can hold a candle, literally, to the incandescent sets. The LED colors are flat-out weird, they are nowhere near as bright, and they have a dull, dark look to them. The whites are a cold, light blue, and the blues are a weird violet-blue. They look like they were put up by aliens from outer space, in my opinion. A couple of my neighbors have these, and I am not impressed by their displays. They actually make me sad.

I jumped on the bandwagon the first year Home Depot offered LEDs, and bought two sets with bulbs the size of the regular C9 bulbs. After I put them up and turned them on, I was devastated, outraged and embarrassed. Those "lights" were dim, dark, unfestive and an expensive waste of money. They barely illuminated themselves, and did not reflect off the rain gutters, or reflect when it rained or snowed. I was embarrassed by the way they looked.

Since my old C9 light strings were worn or broken, the next year I put up some strings of colored mini-lights I had, which was much better, but the following year, I went online and bought new C9 light strings and bulbs from a big lighting distributor, and put those up. At last, I had bright, festive lights, in normal colors, again! Since these lights are on for only about 7 hours per day for 2-3 weeks, I don't begrudge the amount of electricity they use. It's worth it to have a display that is bright, festive and attractive.

For several years, Home Depot used to offer a discount on LED lights to customers for each set of old lights they brought in. I called once to ask that if I gave them back the ugly LEDs they sold me, could I have all the old sets other people turned in. Unfortunately, they said they throw the old sets out. What a waste!

Honestly, the LED displays are ugly and dull, and I don't look at them twice. The town of Amityville, NY decorates the trees along the main street with lights every year; they tried LEDs one year and had so many complaints that they went back to the regular lights the following year, and stayed with them ever since.

It's Christmas, for crying out loud! If you're going to cheap out by turning your Christmas display into a dull, ugly bore, then don't bother! There are times when being cheap doesn't fit the situation. One incandescent light string is 10 times more festive than a whole yard full of LED strings, so save money by using incandescent strings, but fewer of them. They're also cheaper to buy.

For those who still use the 3 dimensional blow-mold plastic lawn decorations, as I do, I have saved money by using compact fluorescent bulbs in the ones that use a regular edison-based bulb (not the candelabra or night-light size). I replaced 40-watt incandescent bulbs with 40 or 60 watt=equivalent CFLs and they work perfectly. In some cases, I had to trim the plastic collar around the bulb socket so these would fit. It's worth doing, as they use less electricity while still lighting the figures brightly.

LEDs seem to work very well in flashlights, work lights and other practical applications, but they are a crashing failure as Christmas lights. I don't know why the manufacturers can't seem to get the brightness and the colors right. I do know that the incandescent lights are festive, Christmas-y, bright, true colors, and make me happy. I'm staying with them!

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
September 29, 2007

Anyone know where I can buy the indoor mini lights online for a cheap price. I need them for the glass blocks I am making and need quite a few strings.
Also for 8x8x4..would you suggest 35 lights or 50?

Carrie from Canada

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 1, 20070 found this helpful

I would check with local dollar store or if you don't have one of them check with Walmart or Kmart you should get them for around a dollar.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 2, 20070 found this helpful

Check the Dollar stores for lights...and use the 20 light strands otherwise the glass blocks get too hot.

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October 4, 20070 found this helpful

Definitely the $store, they sell the very small strings of lights, never seen the 20's in walmart or kmart. 35 may be okay as far as number goes, but even if you could get 50 in the block, there'd be too many for appearance and the heat factor.

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October 4, 20070 found this helpful

Definitely the $store, they sell the very small strings of lights, never seen the 20's in walmart or kmart. 35 may be okay as far as number goes, but even if you could get 50 in the block, there'd be too many for appearance and the heat factor.

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 7, 20070 found this helpful

Carrie, i have read many posts from you asking how to do the glass block decorations. I just wanted to let you know that around here they don't sell very well. I did a craft show a few weeks ago and the lady next to me had a whole table full of them, and at the end she had only sold one block. Just a thought, if you are making them to sell.


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By guest (Guest Post)
October 7, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks sandy...but I actually sold 10 this week!

I am in Canada, where are you located?

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October 7, 20070 found this helpful

Thanks Sandy. I actually sold 10 of them this week.

I am in Canada, not sure where you are?

I also found lights at Canadian Tire in all colors with no connector plug which are perfect.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 12, 20090 found this helpful

Carrie, I use 50 bulbs on mine. Looking on line too. Can't seem to beat Best Lots Store price of 1.99. Then after Christmas for 50 % off is even better!

Bonnie WV

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December 1, 20080 found this helpful

Tips for Saving Money on Christmas Lights. Post your ideas below.

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