Are Christmas Lights Worth an $82,000 Energy Bill?

The Faucher family's Christmas light display We calculated the Faucher family's holiday light display last year at more than $82,000 — though some disagree. Image: Amanda Jansen

Last year we started a conversation about the energy costs of Christmas lights displays. We think it’s worth pursuing this year: What’s your take? Are they a waste of energy or something that shouldn’t have a price tag attached?

Last Christmastime, we were so blown away by the Faucher family’s million-bulb holiday light show in Delaware that we did what HouseLogic does — calculate how much the dazzler costs to power up for a month: $82,320!

At least according to an online calculator we found.

Well, the post went viral and caused a quite a hubbub.

Some commenters called the Fauchers planet killers: “OMG does this guy not realize that there is something called GLOBAL WARMING that is threatening to destroy the planet and that all of these useless and ugly lights are making this problem so much worse!”

Some called dissenters the Grinches who stole Christmas lights: “I think it’ s great, something bright and happy to look at in these days of doom and gloom.”

And some just disputed our math and called the numbers “bogus.”

Our favorite comment came from “Santa Claus, New Castle, Delaware” (but we’re pretty sure someone in the Faucher family wrote it.)

The writer called the article “informative and very well written” — thanks Santa! — but said that his energy bill isn’t anywhere near $82,000.

“I use very energy-efficient lights,” he wrote. “However, it could be 5 dollars and still someone would find a reason why I should have spent it elsewhere for something more worthwhile … To me and my family, if for about a penny a child we can bring a smile and a memory, it is all worth it!”

We tried to reach Wilmington’s Santa for an update, but this is his busy season and he didn’t call us back. Instead, we talked the Smith family in North Delaware, who told us all about their 400,000-bulb light display. (What is it with Delaware and over-the-top holiday lights? Anyway, I’ll be posting some tips from the Smiths tomorrow.

But mainly, we’re curious about your reaction, since saving energy is pocketbook-smart — but holiday cheer, after all, is priceless.

So, do you vote for “pocketbook” or “priceless”? Why?