Christmas light displays cost thousands

WHETHER it's bright flashing lights or a garden grotto Ipswich householders have gone to town this year with a cornucopia of Christmas displays. But bright lights, red-nosed reindeers, waving Santas and flashing illuminations don't come cheap and in Ipswich alone householders are predicted to spend up to £433,000 on lights.

WHETHER it's bright flashing lights or a garden grotto Ipswich householders have gone to town this year with a cornucopia of Christmas displays.

But bright lights, red-nosed reindeers, waving Santas and flashing illuminations don't come cheap and in Ipswich alone householders are predicted to spend up to £433,000 on lights.

A survey by British Gas also found that the extra electricity will cost nearly £25,000.

Anthony Chmarny, spokesman for British Gas said 21 per cent of homes across the UK will decorate the outside of their homes spending an average of £41 each.

He said: "61 per cent said they decorate their homes to entertain children and create a Christmas atmosphere but 29 pc thought it was their Dad's competitive streak getting a seasonal airing."

The survey found that 25 pc of people said yes when asked if over the top displays were an embarrassment but 73pc did not mind if homes on their streets were decorated with lights.

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But there is a serious side to Christmas decorations and British Gas are reminding people to bear in mind safety when putting up lights.

Mr Chmarny said: "Lights and displays are a great way to really have fun over the holiday period but it is important to be safe with electrics and be considerate of neighbours when planning big displays.

"Each year we get thousands of calls about electrical safety and Christmas lights. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents predicts that about 80,000 people will spend Christmas and new Year in hospital as a result of an accident at home."

n. Are you surprised by the lengths people will go to, to decorate their homes? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Evening Star Christmas Lights Tips

N Check the electrical requirements of all your external lights before you put them up - particularly if they are imported from the USA.

N Make sure that any lights you buy are suitable for outdoor use. They must be water and frost resistant.

N If you live on a terraced street or have neighbours close by, switch your Christmas lights off when you go to bed to avoid keeping your neighbours awake with the light coming through the windows.

N Consider warning your neighbours that you are about to give Blackpool a run for its money. Most neighbours will see the fun in your creation but remember the secret snob element can always rear its head. Take into consideration any concerns or issues they might have.

N Try and get neighbours to join in. A community display may be a way to share costs and avoid 'competitive dad' syndrome.

N For security - lights that are off for a few days is a sign that you might be away. Invest in a timer to make sure that your plugs don't overheat. Or ask a trusted neighbour to switch the lights on and off for you.

N Is your house by a main road and will your festive display attract rubber-neckers? A car through your hedge can ruin the whole ambience.

N Don't leave the lights on during the day - particularly if it is sunny - it's a waste of electricity, harmful to the environment and no one will be able to see them.

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