Martin Lewis reveals the cost of running Christmas lights - and it all depends on the type of lights you have

Are our twinkling lights expensive to enjoy over December?

christmas tree
(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

The Christmas period is one of the most expensive times of the year, with social engagements aplenty, plus a host of festive activities, presents to buy and everything we need to get our homes decorated and looking great for the holidays.

Christmas light ideas are one of the best ways to bring a warm, cosy glow to our homes during the festive season, and we're loving all the quiet luxury Christmas lighting around this year.  But you may have wondered whether running yours is contributing significantly to the total cost of Christmas, particularly if you have a combination of Christmas tree lights, outdoor lights, and indoor lights dotted around your home. 

As ever, Martin Lewis has come to the rescue to reveal just how much leaving our best Christmas lights on during the month of December may be setting us back. And thankfully, running our twinkling lights isn't too expensive. So long as you choose the right type of lights, that is!

How much are your Christmas lights costing you to run?

The cost of running Christmas lights – vs. regular lights or lamps  – is actually fairly inexpensive, as Martin revealed on ITV’s The Martin Lewis Money Show.

During the show, the money saving expert was running through the cost of various things during the festive season, such as Royal Mail deliveries, and of course, of Christmas light usage.

Martin Lewis in white shirt and blue jacket

(Image credit: Getty / HGL / Contributor)

However, while he revealed that Christmas lights generally aren't overly pricey to run, he did explain that running a certain type of fairy lights during the festive season is the more financially sensible decision. So bear this in mind when you're shopping for Christmas lights

When asked the question of how costly running lights are, the money expert said:  'If they’re LED, I’ve worked it out, it’s roughly a penny per 12 hours per 100 bulbs. But if they’re incandescent it’s 13 times that.'

'So, if you were to run your Christmas lights for about six hours each day for a month, then your LED lights will cost you a grand total of 15p,' he says. We almost can’t believe how affordable that is!

Curtain string lights along way leading up staircase beside Christmas tree

(Image credit: Future PLC)

'You can run them six hours a day for a month and it’s 15p, so you don’t have to worry too much about the energy bill,' Martin confirmed.

Incandescent lights however are much more expensive to run. Martin explains that they will set you back 13p for every 12 hours per 100 bulbs, meaning that, if they are also left on for six hours a day for a month, they’ll cost you around £1.94.

Christmas lights on pre-lit Christmas tree

(Image credit: Lights4Fun)

This may not be a huge amount to some, but if you’re worried about your spending or your energy bill at this time of year, it may be sensible to consider a switch to LED lights, especially if you haven’t yet decorated your tree, or you're working out how many lights you need for your tree to see if you should add more this year. 

'If you’re worried about the cost of your Christmas lights, if you’ve got LEDs up, LEDs are perfect,' Martin advises.

If you're looking to purchase LED lights instead then, it's worth being aware that they can be more expensive than incandescent lights upfront, but it's likely worth the investment given how much more energy-efficient and long-lasting they are when in use.

So now you know how much it'll cost you to create that perfect magical glow in your home this Christmas, you can get decorating. 


 Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine