Why are more and more people leaving their Christmas lights on all night long?

For over 20 years I've been putting Christmas lights up on my house, turning them on in the afternoon and shutting them off before I go to bed. For the longest time, that's also been what everyone else in my neighborhood has done. But recently things have begun to change. So what's the deal?

As someone who gets up at 4am and travels to work in the dark, I've noticed that more and more homes in my neighborhood are leaving their Christmas lights on all night long. This year, it seems that almost every home is lit up. Was there some meeting I wasn't invited to where Hudson Valley homeowners got together and voted to keep their lights on all night?

I decided to do some research on the subject but was surprised to find very little guidance on whether to keep the lights on all night or not. Safety experts warn about keeping outdoor lights on for long periods of time. They claim that heat generated from the lights, especially if long extension cords are in use, could be a fire risk. But now, with cool, energy-saving LED lights made to run for longer periods of time, that may no longer be as much of a concern.

Hands holding glowing string of white Christmas lights

After running into a brick wall on the subject, I decided to turn to the radio listeners of the Hudson Valley to see what they think. It turns out, just like everything else, the audience was split down the middle. Some claim that leaving the lights on all night is a great way to spread holiday cheer, while others say they always turn them off before bed or utilize a timer to make sure they don't run all night.

One listener, however, seems to have hit on a theory why we may be seeing more and more lights being kept on all night long. Chris from Poughkeepsie suspects that people leaving their lights on are most likely transplants from New York City. Those who've lived in the Hudson Valley for most of their lives are used to the darkness. Having bright, flashing lights on all night is a form of "light pollution" that just doesn't seem natural. Homeowners who've moved up from the city, however, are used to bright lights being turned on all night long.

I like this theory because in my neighborhood we've seen a significant number of new people move in over the past couple of years. Many of them are transplants from New York City, and those houses happen to be the ones I've noticed with their lights still on at 4am.

So, if you notice more Christmas lights blinking and shining through your windows at night, that might just be another side effect of the "invasion" of city folk moving up to the Hudson Valley. While it might be annoying to some, there are certainly a lot worse things people can do than decide to spread some holiday cheer. Who knows? Perhaps I'll even start leaving my lights on too.

The Hudson Valley's Rockefeller Christmas Trees