A family from Australia are new Guinness World Record Holders after stringing roughly 31 miles of holiday lights around their home -- more than half a million individual, flickering lights. There are 502,165 lights to be precise. Plus, of course, one Guinness World Record plaque.
At the end of December, the family expects their electricity bill will be up $2,500 (a bit less than $2,300 in US dollars).
Many folks begin putting up the lights during the long Thanksgiving weekend. (Of course, that family from Australia started in early October and had help from friends.)
The National Retail Federation predicts average American adults will spend about $75 this year on Christmas decor, including those sparkling strands of lights.
If you are not the type to untangle the mess of holiday lights you shoved in a cardboard box last year only to spend hours balanced precariously on ladder to hang them, you are in luck. There are plenty of services willing to do the job for you -- for a fee, of course.
It's not necessarily an expensive service, but it can be.
"People really like to decorate for the holidays," Brandon Stephens, marketing director for Christmas Decor, told Bankrate.com. "Once they get rolling, some don't stop. We've seen some residential installations run in excess of $50,000."
The average Christmas Decor customer spends $1,300-$1,500 for a residential installation.
But not everybody spends that much. Some professional installations can be done for $300-$500. Professional light installation is typically done by landscaping services -- it grew out of a need for offering winter services, when lawns need less maintenance.
And there are a couple less-expensive options advertised on Craigslist -- handymen offering their skills. Houston-area handyman charges $25 for some light-hanging gigs.
Typically, costs break down by what you plan to decorate.
- Running lights along your windows, doors and over the roof will typically cost $1-$5 per foot of lights. (Professional services typically supply the lights, but you can always use your own.)
- Putting lights on trees in your yard varies by height, but generally expect to pay about $75-$125 per tree.
- Typically there is a separate fee for removal -- many companies charge about half of the total installation fee. (However, basic installation by a local handyman often includes removal).
- Don't forget the electricity bill. Incandescent lights use exponentially more power than LED lights, so plan accordingly. Depending on usage, your bill can increase anywhere from $40-$300.
About the only thing you can guarantee getting for free is an estimate for the work. Some companies offer multiple options with various pricing levels. Take advantage of the estimate.
With help, some planning and a healthy budget, you can have your home as bright as Rudolph's nose.