"Lighting orgies": DUH calls on Germany to abandon Christmas lights

"Lighting orgies": DUH calls on Germany to abandon Christmas lights

Nobody loves a lit up Christmas tree or twinkling window display quite like the Germans, but amid the ongoing gas crisis and attempts to save energy, it has been suggested that vast quantities of Christmas lights don’t exactly fit with the times. One environmental organisation is calling on people to do without, as a symbol of solidarity. 

Environmental Action Germany tells people to abandon Christmas lights

The federal managing director of Environmental Action Germany (DUH), Jürgen Resch, has called on German cities and private households to abandon Christmas lights this winter due to the energy crisis. 

In an interview with the newspapers of the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland, Resch said, “This winter it should be a matter of course that both the Christmas lights in cities and those in houses and apartments be dispensed with.” He added, “In view of the war in Ukraine, the energy shortage, but also for reasons of climate protection, we should pause for a moment.” 

Describing Germany’s love affair with strings of fairy lights as “private lighting orgies”, Resch pointed out that Christmas lights have an enormous - and perhaps often underestimated - power footprint. Private Christmas light displays in Germany consume an incredible 600 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year - as much as a medium-sized city with 400.000 inhabitants uses in a year. 

He said that cities and communities could match the efforts of private households and also reduce Christmas lighting this year to save energy. Resch suggested that each city and municipality stick to just one lighted tree. “Consciously doing without, saving and showing solidarity, could even make this Christmas season a very special one.” 

Energy crisis sparks a Christmas without lights? 

Germany is not the only country to be debating turning off the Christmas lights. Austria is also considering a reduction in fairy lights this winter to help save energy and many cities in Switzerland have announced they will be switching their Christmas lights off to save power. According to a survey by the Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE), many retailers are also planning to cut down on the lights because of the recent sharp rise in electricity costs. 

However, the suggestion might not go down well with everyone. Already on Monday morning, Germans were taking to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction, with #Weihnachtsbeleuchtung trending. While some were in favour of the idea, others went totally the other way and said that DUH’s announcement was merely encouraging them to put up more lights. Another user questioned why, if there is enough energy for Oktoberfest to take place, there isn’t enough energy for Christmas lights. It’s hard to imagine the “one community Christmas tree” idea going down well with everybody. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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