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Festive Lights Face-Off: American vs. British Christmas Decorating Preferences

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This festive season, we’re exploring cultural identities through a dazzling facet of the holiday spirit: people’s Christmas light preferences. Our study combines a survey of 1,003 homeowners and an analysis of Google search trends for the Christmas lights that will brighten homes across the U.S. and U.K. this year. Our findings shed light on the festive preferences illuminating homes on both sides of the Atlantic, revealing how these two nations uniquely celebrate the season’s glow.

Key Takeaways

  • U.K. residents are almost 3x as likely as Americans to search for “Christmas decorations.”
  • Americans are 54% more likely than U.K. residents to search for “solar-powered lights.”
  • In outdoor decorations, 44% of Americans prefer multicolored lights compared to 37% who prefer white, while 41% of U.K. residents favor white and more than 24% prefer multicolored.
  • Over one-quarter of respondents (27%) value using solar-powered lights.
  • 1 in 10 say TikTok influenced their holiday decoration choices this year.

Lighting Up Christmas

First, let’s see how the U.S. and the U.K. differ in holiday lighting color choices based on Google searches for Christmas light-related terms.

preferred christmas light color by US state
preferred christmas light color by US state

Key Takeaways:

  • U.K. residents are nearly 3x as likely as Americans to search for “Christmas decorations.”
  • U.K. residents are 41% more likely than Americans to search for “Christmas lights.”
  • Americans are 91% more likely than U.K. residents to search for “smart Christmas lights.”
  • Americans are 63% more likely than U.K. residents to search for “white Christmas lights.”
  • Americans are 54% more likely than U.K. residents to search for “solar-powered lights.”

Preferred Christmas Light Colors By City

City Most Associated Light Color
Albuquerque, New Mexico White
Arlington, Texas White
Atlanta, Georgia Multicolored
Aurora, Colorado White
Austin, Texas White
Baltimore, Maryland Multicolored
Boston, Massachusetts White
Charlotte, North Carolina Multicolored
Chicago, Illinois White
Colorado Springs, Colorado White
Columbus, Ohio Multicolored
Dallas, Texas White
Denver, Colorado Multicolored
Detroit, Michigan Multicolored
El Paso, Texas White
Fort Worth, Texas White
Fresno, California White
Houston, Texas Multicolored
Indianapolis, Indiana White
Jacksonville, Florida Multicolored
Kansas City, Missouri Multicolored
Las Vegas, Nevada Multicolored
Long Beach, California Multicolored
Los Angeles, California Multicolored
Louisville, Kentucky White
Memphis, Tennessee White
Mesa, Arizona White
Miami, Florida White
Milwaukee, Wisconsin Multicolored
Minneapolis, Minnesota White
Nashville, Tennessee White
New York, New York White
Oakland, California White
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Multicolored
Omaha, Nebraska White
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania White
Phoenix, Arizona White
Portland, Oregon Multicolored
Raleigh, North Carolina White
Sacramento, California White
San Antonio, Texas Multicolored
San Diego, California White
San Francisco, California White
San Jose, California White
Seattle, Washington Multicolored
Tampa, Florida White
Tucson, Arizona White
Tulsa, Oklahoma White
Virginia Beach, Virginia White
Washington, D.C. White

Illuminating Traditions

Now, we’ll uncover what American and British preferences for white versus multicolored Christmas lights say about wider holiday decorating trends. From outdoor displays to the impact of social media on festive choices, our survey data offers a revealing glimpse into these seasonal choices.

us vs uk christmas lights
us vs uk christmas lights

Key Takeaways:

  • 44% of Americans favor multicolored lights over white (37%) for outdoor decor, while U.K. residents prefer white lights (41%) to multicolored (24%).
  • Americans are 19% more likely to choose multicolored lights over white for outdoor decorating, whereas U.K. residents are 71% more likely to use white lights than multicolored lights outdoors.
  • Americans show a stronger preference for indoor white lights (42%) than outdoors (37%).
  • U.K. residents use white lights more than multicolored ones for outdoor and indoor decorating.
  • Over one-quarter of people (27%) prioritize using solar-powered lights, with U.K. residents 20% more likely than Americans to feel it’s important.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 (17%) say social media has prompted them to start holiday decorating earlier this year.
  • 1 in 10 people mention TikTok as an inspiration for their holiday decorations.
  • Over 1 in 10 (13%) have considered buying a Christmas decoration they saw on TikTok.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) say their Christmas decor has become more minimalist in the past 5 years.
  • Americans are 13% more likely than U.K. residents to opt for technology and smart features in Christmas decor over the last 5 years.
  • Americans usually have their Christmas lights on longer than the British: typically 6 hours outside and 8 hours inside daily, versus 4 hours outside and 6 hours inside in the U.K.
  • Top 4 preferred Christmas tree toppers:
    • Star (U.S. 53%, U.K. 39%)
    • Angel (U.S. 41%, U.K. 42%)
    • Snowflake (U.S. 9%, U.K. 7%)
    • Bow (U.S. 7%, U.K. 4%)
  • On average, people take down decorations 9 days after Christmas.

Holiday Lights’ Cultural Tints

People in the U.K. have a special place in their hearts for classic white lights in their Christmas decorations. But across the pond in the U.S., there’s a stronger trend toward colorful and solar-powered lights, showing a keenness for holiday decor tech. Either way, TikTok is putting a fresh spin on how everyone decks the halls! We have to wonder how tech and marketing shifts will affect the light displays that line our streets this season and in the years to come.


We collected Google Trends Christmas light-related search volume from the U.K. and U.S. from January through October 2023. Additionally, we surveyed 1,003 homeowners: 503 living in the U.K. and 500 in the U.S.

About Payless Power

Trusted Texas electricity provider Payless Power offers a range of electric plans tailored to meet diverse budget and lifestyle needs. We deliver cost-effective energy solutions to over 400 deregulated communities across the state.

Fair Use Statement

Readers are welcome to use these data and insights for non-commercial purposes, provided they include a link back to our original content here so others can explore these illuminating holiday traditions and preferences for themselves.

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