How Long Do People Leave Christmas Lights on Outside?

The holidays are an exciting time of year; one of the most enjoyable parts is enjoying the vibrant light displays. Perhaps you prefer to join in the fun and hang up some lights of your own. This activity can raise the question of how long do people leave Christmas lights on outside?

It’s wise to learn everything you can because it could affect your safety if you are unsure. Keep reading to learn more about how long you can leave Christmas lights on.

Are Christmas Lights Safe?

How Long Do People Leave Christmas Lights on Outside?

If you’re concerned about safety, you’re not alone. Light bulbs generate heat, so it makes sense to be concerned about stringing them up on your house.

Generally speaking, outdoor Christmas lights are very safe. Look for water and flameproof strings, and you’ll find that most modern lights are well up to the job of lighting up your home safely.

How Long Do People Leave Christmas Lights on Outside?

How long do people leave Christmas lights on outside? You might notice that some of your neighbors will leave them running for the entire season and wonder if you can do that, too. While many might be able to do this without incident, there are risks to these kinds of habits. 


Choosing to leave your lights on all night could be risky for a few reasons, but the most dangerous is the possibility of a fire. Even if the bulbs themselves don’t generate heat, extra wiring increases the probability of an electrical fire. The risk gets even worse if the lights are old or poorly made.

When to Turn Them Off

The best thing you can do to prevent any accidents is to turn your lights off at night before you go to bed. You can plug them back in or turn them back on the following evening when the sun goes down. This way, they won’t be running for more than a few hours at a time, and hopefully no longer than five or six.

Safety Tips

Other than fires, there are other safety concerns to consider when decorating your house with Christmas lights. Here’s a short list of tips on how to install and use them safely throughout the season:

  • Hang the lights during the day and only where you are comfortable. Don’t climb to the top of the roof if you feel unsure.
  • Don’t puncture the wire with tacks, nails, or staples. It’s best to avoid using these tools altogether and try clips instead.
  • Hang lights on secure surfaces. If the weather gets bad and the lights come loose, there’s an increased risk of a spark being created and catching fire.
  • Avoid creating tripping hazards by keeping wires securely tucked away.
  • Consider LED lights. LEDs don’t get as hot as traditional lights and are often brighter. Just don’t mix and match. Not all wires are created equal.
  • Examine the wire before you hang it. This includes plugging it in to ensure the string is safe.

What To Do if the Lights Are Left On

If you do forget to unplug your lights at night, don’t panic. Unless something is in imminent danger, then there was likely no harm done, although you may have a bulb burn out. Unplug the lights right away and let them cool off for a few hours. Go outside and check them the next time you plug them in.

You may also be interested in growing a Christmas Cactus.