Christmas lights and light pollution

“Lights, like Christmas lights, stay lit for an excessive amount of time while washing out stars in the sky, which disrupts ecosystems of nocturnal wildlife”


Traditionally, Christmas decorations would be brought down on Twelfth Night:

When is Twelfth Night and why is it the correct date to take down Christmas trees and festive decorations? |

When is Twelfth Night 2020? Date explained, and why people take their Christmas trees down then |

Some would say this is a Victorian tradition, and that an older way of seeing through the winter would mean that the halls would still be decked:

Christmas Decorations, Twelfth Night and Candlemas – The Tudor Society

Custom demised: Taking down Christmas decorations on Candlemas Eve | In search of traditional customs and ceremonies

Of course, in Medieval times, the decorations would have been made up of greenery:

Decking the Halls: The Arches | The Medieval Garden Enclosed | The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

And ‘traditional’ decorations would not have used massive amounts of wattage:

The Electrical Consumption of Christmas

US Christmas lights use more energy than entire countries |

Now, English Heritage and the Church of England are supporting extending the traditional January deadline to “brighten the gloom of lockdown”:

Light brigade: the Christmas holdouts keeping their decorations up | UK news | The Guardian

Enthusiasts leave Christmas decorations up as they try to brighten up winter lockdown months   | Daily Mail Online

A correspondent points out that this will not only “demand more electricity production when we are trying to reduce carbon and put more strain on the National Grid when it is creaking anyway because of people working from home”

– but will “disrupt even more the natural cycles of wildlife, potentially causing problems of all kinds from breeding cycles to creatures coming out of hibernation too soon, eg bees, and then dying from the snap frosts.”

Light pollution is not good for nature:

Light Pollution Effects on Wildlife and Ecosystems | International Dark-Sky Association

And we can have too much of a good thing at Christmas – and now, apparently, beyond:

“Lights, like Christmas lights, stay lit for an excessive amount of time while washing out stars in the sky, which disrupts ecosystems of nocturnal wildlife”:

Christmas Lights Are Harmful To The Environment – Horizon

And we are talking serious light pollution:

NASA Can See Your Holiday Lights From Space | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

“… And finally, [you] should shorten the amount of time lights stay up — that means actually taking them down after Christmas”:

Reality check: How bad are Christmas lights for the environment? – National |


photo: Westfield Christmas Lights © Oast House Archive :: Geograph Britain and Ireland

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