Skip to Content Top

How Many Lights did Clark Griswold put on His House during National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation?

A hilarious caricature of many Americans that find themselves looking to outdo each other at the holidays each year, Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation certainly put on a memorable Christmas lighting display.

If you’re like most people, you probably have a few Clark Griswold moments yourself around the holidays. We’ve seen our fair share of outrageous holiday displays and have a good estimate of how many lights were used to create Clark Griswold’s home. Not including Santa, eight reindeer, and a “Merry Christmas” sign, here’s how many lights he used and how realistic that is to replicate in today’s time.

Clark Griswold And National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

The number of lights used in the film is estimated to be around 25,000. Amounting to over 200 individual strands of modern string lights, that look would require a lot of extension cords in the 1980s. While it may seem like a daunting task to try and replicate, it’s actually not that difficult.

Premier holiday lighting companies like Blingle can simplify the process by using longer strands of lights, more efficient bulbs, and energy-saving tactics that also improve the safety of the setup. Solar powered lights have come a long way since the 1980’s and ideally you won’t have a big electricity bill scare at the end of the month.

The Type Of Christmas Lights Clark Griswold Put On His House

In the film, Clark says he uses 250 strings of lights. Although that’s a lot of lights, it’s not as many as you might think when you look at how well-lit the house was. Each string has 100 light bulbs on it, so the total number of lights he used is 25,000. In addition, he used incandescent lights that consume much more energy than today’s LED bulbs we usually use. He used these strings of lights all around the house, hanging them from the gutters, wrapping them around the columns, and even weaving them through the bushes.

With this method, Clark achieved an all-lit look that is hard to replicate today on your own. Buying that many string lights and maintaining the electricity to light them would quickly eat up most Christmas budgets, which brings us to the next question: how much did it cost?

How Much Did It Cost To Keep The Lights On?

The story says he used 10kWh lights, which would have cost him around $1.19 per hour. This means that keeping the lights on for only eight hours would cost Clark $9.52, which is a total of $295.12 for the entire month.

How Much Would It Cost Today?

Although Clark would probably use LED lights today, we’ll estimate incandescent lights for the sake of the story. In today’s dollars, keeping 25000 lights on for five hours a day for the entire month of December would cost you around $3,699 based on modern energy costs. If he used LED lights, it would cost about $1.50 a day to keep them on, which is a lot less.

The Cost Of Buying The Lights

Incandescent lights use more energy than LED lights, which is why they’re more expensive to keep lit, especially if you want to do what Clark Griswold did. However, you’d also have to consider the cost of purchasing these lights. In 1989, each strand would cost around 25 cents, meaning Clark likely paid about $62.50 for 250 strands. LED lights would cost even more at about $12,000, which is an incredible amount to spend on decorating your home’s exterior for Christmas. To save money on energy and lights but still achieve a glamorous look, reach out to our experts at Blingle Premier Lighting for a consultation and estimate.