The Cost of Clark Griswold Christmas Lights



Many images come to mind when we think of Christmas. Some say family, others may say a tree, or a stocking. Clark Griswold might say, “Oh, the silent majesty of a winter’s morn…the clean, cool chill of the holiday air…and a guy in his bathrobe, emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer.”

There were no Cousin Eddies emptying their RV into my neighborhood sewers, but there are a few houses in my subdivision that are giving Clark Griswold a run for his money. That got me thinking, what would it cost to power the same amount of Christmas lights as in the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?

Let’s break this down. The lights Clark used (see photo above) are incandescent 5w bulbs. Keep in mind this movie came out 26 years ago. Nowadays people would probably use LED lights, which are more expensive up front but much more energy efficient. So what would it cost to do it the official Griswold way, and what would it cost to do it in a more energy efficient way?

Clark Griswold:

25,000 5 watt bulbs = 125 kw of electricity

X 11.46 cents (Avg Missouri Residential price per kw hour)

$14.33 per hour

Energy Efficient version (LED lights):

25,000 bulbs (8w per strand of 100 bulbs) = 2 kw of electricity

X 11.46 cents (Avg Missouri Residential price per kw hour)

$0.23 per hour

That is enough savings per year to load up the family and take a trip to Wally World and see Marty Moose!

For just a few dollars a month you could recreate the Griswold family Christmas tradition in your neighborhood! That is . . . unless your boss is Frank Shirley and he cut your Christmas bonus in lieu of the jelly of the month club.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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