Festivities axed as fairy lights 'unaffordable' amid energy price rise

Big Christmas SWITCH-OFF: Festive fairy light displays cancelled by councils and twinkling tree decorations ‘unaffordable’ for families in face of soaring energy prices

  • Councils, pubs and households are already planning to ditch festive fairy lights
  • Light switch-on events and high street displays have been cancelled over costs
  • Consumers to pay nearly triple in heating bills this winter after price cap rise  
  • ‘Not bothering with a Christmas tree – can’t afford to turn the lights on,’ one said 
  • Brits are concerned that lack of lights will bring even more gloom this Christmas

There is set to be less sparkle this Christmas with fairy lights being axed by councils and ditched by struggling families as electricity bills soar.

Extravagant festive light displays on high streets and homes are a tradition up and down the country during the winter months.

But now towns and villages known for their dazzling displays are deciding not to put up the lights this year and are cancelling popular switch-on events.

An extravagant Christmas light display on a house in Saxifrage Way, Worthing, in 2020

The council in the picturesque Devonshire town of Budleigh Salterton said it ‘could not take on the cost of the lights in the economic climate’, The Star reported.

Ely in Camridgeshire scrapped its display months ago as it said its typical £9,000 bill, which is likely to have increased by now, would not be a wise way to spend taxpayers’ money.

Guildford Council is also scrapping it’s switch-on event, with it’s leader saying last month that it ‘faces significant financial challenges’.

While the council is protecting the budget for its much-loved Christmas celebrations, it says it has concerns it cannot afford to accommodate the size of the crowd.

‘We cannot afford or justify value for money for such an additional significant cost,’ Council leader, Joss Bigmore, said.

Businesses, which do not have energy bill price caps, are also set to opt out of decorations and are even switching off their regular lighting already.

The house of Helen and John Attlesey in Soham in Cambridgeshire, decorated with hundreds of Christmas lights, pictured in November 2020

Expensive beer garden lighting is also being switched off at venues across the country as publicans face soaring overheads.

One pub owner told MailOnline he had been forking out £50 an hour to keep festoon lighting on. 

Meanwhile, concerned households are already planning to leave their Christmas lights in their boxes.

‘Not bothering with a Christmas tree – can’t afford to turn the lights on. Dark days,’ one person said.

Twitter users express concern that Chrsitmas lights will be ‘unaffordable’ this year

‘All the folk that go mad for Christmas lights are going to have an expensive winter,’ warned another man on social media.

Another said: ‘Wonder how many families won’t be able to put outside Christmas lights on this year due to energy prices? Feel sorry for the children.’

But one Christmas fanatic refused to have their festive spirit dampened by the energy price crisis, tweeting: ‘We have LEDs everywhere, never will I sacrifice Christmas even if its just a week of lights’, while others recommended solar panel lights to keep the ‘gloomy’ winter at bay.

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