13th May 2021
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s the point in the calendar where joy and good cheer are the order of the day. Up and down the UK households are adorned, inside and out, with twinkling LED lights, wreathes, ribbons and tinsel, all in preparation for the yuletide festivities.
But what’s the cost of all that festive cheer?
We have used unique insight and research to reveal the UK’s electricity usage through December and on the 25th itself.
While the entire month of December sees the power surge to keep our Christmas lights running, Christmas day itself sees even more demand on the national grid. Be it the cooking of the turkey and the burning of the sprouts, or the TV acting as the backing track to furious games of Monopoly, the big day takes a big toll on your electric bill. UK residents use £66million of electricity on just Christmas Day alone, which is a whopping 402,144,104 Kwh (or 402 Gwh) of electricity, during just one day of celebration.
So, what does that amount of electricity look like elsewhere?
The electricity used by the UK on Christmas Day is enough to light the Eiffel Tower for 50 years! It could also power the Sydney Opera House for 25 years, Times Square in New York for 7 years and Blackpool Illuminations for a lengthy 406 years.
The most popular electric car model, Tesla, uses on average 0.34Kwh per mile. This means that the Christmas Day electrical consumption would power a Tesla for 1.2 billion miles of driving, enough to drive you around the world’s equator 47,499 times.
And if we fancied heading to Christmas past, the Delorean Time Machine in Back to the Future requires 1.21 Gigawatts of electricity to make its trips through time. With the energy used at Christmas in the UK, the Delorean could make 332 trips, giving Marty many more opportunities to keep his parents together!
Although a modern TV uses very little electricity, the number of viewers expected for the usual Christmas Day specials means that Great Britain will be spending approximately £1.4million in electricity watching Christmas Day telly.
The most energy-consuming show of the day is predicted to be the Call the Midwife: Christmas Special, costing £261k in electricity to watch.
The Queen’s speech costs £26,166.67 for just 10 minutes, meaning each minute the Queen speaks costs £2,616 in electricity.
But Christmas, ‘tis a season! One that tends to last the whole of December. This year it’s one that has kicked off even earlier, with lots of people opting to pop their decorations up in the last few weeks of November, trying to offset what has been an otherwise miserable 2020.
During the average December UK residents spend a collective £1.5bn on electricity, 11% higher than the average monthly electricity spend, all to celebrate the imminent arrival of old St. Nick.
When broken down by local authority, it seems like it's the Brummies who are most full of Christmas cheer. Christmas Day in the West Midlands city see’s nearly £1m spent on electricity in just one day.
The Wiltshire local authority came in 4th for the highest electricity spending, perhaps surprisingly when you consider that it has less households than Glasgow who came in 5th.
For the energy conscious little elves amongst you, there are a number of ways you can keep on top of your energy consumption this Crimbo. One such way is to switch to LED christmas lights. This might be the most effective way to curb the Christmas usage, as they use 90% less energy than traditional illuminations. Fibre optic decorations and trees are also an option in keeping down the Xmas leccy bills, with them using one bulb in order to light the whole tree or ornament - very energy efficient!
Timer switches might be another means of keeping your metre costs to a minimum, meaning your festive lighting can switch off automatically in the early morning, when there’s no one around to see them except the jolly fat man landing on your roof.
ONS and Gov data sources, as well as researched averages for electrical consumptions of items such as TVs and Christmas lights were used to calculate the average electrical spend, based on a number of factors, per local authority on Christmas Day and In December in the UK. Religious preference was taken into consideration to work out Christmas celebrating households for each authority too.
Christmas TV show electrical consumption was worked out at a base rate of 2p/hr for TV usage, this was then used to work out the cost per running time and multiplied by the largest previous audience that tuned in for the specials.
You can view the full data here.