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LED lights offer energy-efficient holiday cheer

June and John Peters' home at 962 Seventh Ave. W boasts a large Christmas light display.

With the country pulling out of a long recession right as the holidays hit, one place people can look for a fair price is with their Christmas lights.

Mark Hanson, spokesman for Montana-Dakota Utilities, said especially with the rising availability of new LED Christmas lights, people shouldn't be hit too hard on their energy bills for the season.

"If you take a thousand bulbs... using our rate, if you ran those, say, four hours a night, I'm doing this at 35 nights... it would cost you about $2.40 for the season," Hanson said.

He added that although energy demand goes up a little during the holidays, there will be no need to kick in auxiliary nuclear power a la "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation."

"Older lights, those'll probably use more, but the new LED lights, which is pretty much all you can use now, those are a lot more efficient," he said.

June Peters and her husband, John, put up a large Christmas light display every year at their home near Trinity High School on Seventh Avenue West.

Peters said she's not expecting a big impact on their energy bill this year because the family replaced about half of their lights with LED strands.

The display, which she and John put up with some help from one of their sons, takes about three days to complete, Peters said.

"It's not putting the lights up, it's testing them," she said, laughing.

Peters said her family has been putting up a light display since 1974, when they built their home.

"I've always been a light person, even when we lived out of Dickinson," she said.

Peters said she plans to leave the display up until Jan. 6. And although her home is sporting a lot of new lights, she said some little trees have gone missing from near the Nativity in her yard.

She isn't too mad, but mused, "They're perfect dorm size."