Christmas lights, animatronic Santas, glowing mangers: All of these are common sights in the front yards of festive Americans during the season of giving. In fact, Americans find their holiday lights so enduring that these decorations now consume more energy than many countries do in a year, reports Phys.org.
The findings come after researchers Todd Moss and Priscilla Agyapong with the Center for Global Development recently scoured statistics from the U.S. Department of Energy and the World Bank. It puts U.S. energy consumption during the Christmas season in alarming perspective.
Bright lights and other festive energy sinks propped up by Americans every Christmas account for 6.63 billion kilowatt hours of electricity consumption alone. Compared with developing countries like El Salvador (5.35 billion kilowatt hours), Ethiopia (5.30 billion) and Tanzania (4.81 billion), that might not sound too extravagant — except when you consider that the numbers for these countries represent their total energy consumption over an entire year.
Cambodia uses roughly 3.06 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year, half as much as the consumption of Americans' twinkling displays. Nepal uses 3.28 billion. The list goes on.
To put it another way, American energy expenditure on decorative lighting alone could run as many as 14 million refrigerators. Given that there are many places around the world where refrigerators are an effusive luxury, it puts the supposed "season of giving" in a whole new light, quite literally.
Needless to say, the report ought to give some people renewed pause about setting their homes ablaze this holiday season.