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Report: Bigger and brighter holiday light displays help British Columbians get through pandemic blues

VANCOUVER: A new BC Hydro report finds British Columbians are keeping the holiday spirit alive at home amidst COVID-19 by adding brighter, more elaborate lighting displays and decorations this year.

The report titled, “Home for the holidays: British Columbians brightening up with more elaborate holiday displays[PDF, 289 KB] finds more than 90 per cent of British Columbians feel COVID-19 will impact how they celebrate the holidays. With the majority planning on spending more time at home, about 20 per cent plan to do more decorating indoors and outdoors this year to create some holiday cheer.

Elaborate holiday displays account for about three per cent of the provincial electricity load during the holiday season. This number is expected to grow this year as British Columbians ramp up their holiday décor. Sixty per cent of British Columbians plan to put up outdoor lights, and there are two groups that plan to step it up this year:

  • The holiday enthusiast: Nearly 22 per cent plan to put up eight strands on average – this is up almost 10 per cent since 2018.
  • The holiday fanatic: Nearly 10 per cent plan to put up more than 10 strands of lights on average for a ‘Clark Griswold-style’ mega display – this is up more than three per cent since 2018.

With the rise in mega displays, inflatable decorations like blow up Santas and snowmen are increasing in popularity. In fact, about 15 per cent of outdoor decorators plan to put up three or more inflatables, and five per cent plan to put up six to 15.

Brighter displays will bring some much needed cheer to 2020; however, they could mean higher electricity bills for some. About 25 per cent of British Columbians indicated they still use some incandescent lights to decorate, which are up to 90 per cent less energy efficient than LEDs. Big inflatable decorations can also result in higher than expected bills because they are often run 24/7 and use a lot more power than a strand of LED bulbs.

To save energy and money this year while brightening up the neighbourhood, BC Hydro recommends:

  • Switching to LEDs: Save about $40 over the holiday season by switching eight strands of incandescent lights to energy efficient LEDs. LED holiday lights also last 10 times longer and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours.
  • Plugging into timers: Reduce electricity costs by only having lights on when needed.
  • Using MyHydro: See how holiday decorating impacts electricity use by using the electricity tracking tools available on MyHydro, which can be accessed from a mobile device or at

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468

[1] Online survey conducted by Majid Khoury on behalf of BC Hydro of 800 British Columbians between Nov. 16 and 19, 2020.i>