By Sam Wasson
Updated Nov 30, 2022
In all the season’s festive cheer, one point of contention has always stood out – when is the right time to hang your Christmas decorations? Throughout social media, posts abound with commenters debating the appropriate time for stringing up Christmas lights. Some believe that the start of December is ideal, while others think you should begin yuletide decorations in November. We decided to settle the debate by asking nearly 4,000 homeowners about their plans for hanging Christmas lights this holiday season.
In our most recent survey, we asked 3,939 U.S. homeowners when they thought it was too early to put up Christmas lights and when they planned on hanging them. Here’s what they said.
The first part of our survey asked when it was too early to hang Christmas lights. According to our respondents, most Americans think any date before December 1 is too early. Interestingly, this means most households don’t follow their own preferences. When asked when they planned to adorn their home with lights, most homeowners stated they would start during November.
When digging deeper into survey responses, we discovered that many Americans like to hang their Christmas lights right around Thanksgiving. Specifically, a notable subsection of respondents stated that they planned to adorn their homes with lights on or around Black Friday. This trend makes sense, as Thanksgiving is a transitional period between the two major parts of the season. Thanksgiving creates a tidy divide between Halloween and Christmas on the calendar, presenting the perfect space to pack up all the autumn decor and replace it with dazzling winter lights.
Some American homeowners prefer to celebrate the season all year long. Of those surveyed, more people preferred to leave their lights up year-round than those who believed that the first week of November was too early to put out lights.
We discovered several trends when looking at the responses on a state-by-state basis. First, a vast majority of states – 34 out of 50 – believe that hanging up lights before Thanksgiving is too early. The most notable exceptions were Georgia and Delaware, whose residents have no problem putting out Christmas lights in October. However, no respondents from Georgia believed that leaving your lights up year-round was acceptable. To that end, no state said that year-round light displays were the most common. But New York and Indiana had the highest percentage of people who said that year-round light displays were ideal.
According to our survey results, early to mid-November is when most Americans plan on hanging up Christmas lights. What’s interesting about this response is that it’s contrary to when most U.S. households would prefer to see Christmas lights, which is early to mid-December. These figures imply that most U.S. homeowners like to see homes lit up closer to the holidays but will begin to make preparations beforehand. Practically speaking, this makes sense, as many homeowners are extremely busy throughout December. Between holiday get-togethers and Christmas shopping, many American households have little time for decorating.
When asked about what specific times homeowners intended to hang up their lights, about 20% said that they planned on the week of Thanksgiving. On the other end of the spectrum, 2.8% of those surveyed said they planned to put up their lights on Christmas Day, with the highest concentration of respondents in California and Indiana. When asking homeowners if they leave their Christmas lights up all year round, 12% said yes, even though only 9% said it was acceptable.
The states with some of the earliest timetables for hanging Christmas lights included California, New York, Connecticut, and Indiana. Next in line is Delaware, whose residents plan on hanging up their lights in October. Homeowners in 13 states preferred to hang their lights around Black Friday, including Florida, Idaho, New York, New Hampshire, and South Dakota.
This table shows a state-by-state breakdown of the earliest date their residents find it acceptable to hang Christmas lights and the day they plan to display them.
|State||Earliest Acceptable Day to Display||Planned Day to Display|
|Alabama||Black Friday||First Day of December|
|Alaska||First Week of December||November, Before Thanksgiving|
|Arizona||November, Before Thanksgiving||November, Before Thanksgiving|
|Arkansas||First Day of December||First Day of December|
|California||First Day of December||November, Before Thanksgiving|
|Colorado||First Day of November||November, Before Thanksgiving|
|Connecticut||First Day of December||Second Week of December|
|Delaware||November, Before Thanksgiving||October|
|Florida||First Day of November||Black Friday|
|Georgia||October||First Day of December|
|Hawaii||November, After Black Friday||First Day of December|
|Idaho||First Day of December||Black Friday|
|Illinois||Black Friday||November, After Black Friday|
|Indiana||First Day of December||November, Before Thanksgiving|
|Iowa||First Day of November||First Day of November|
|Kansas||First Day of December||First Day of December|
|Kentucky||Black Friday||First Day of December|
|Louisiana||November, Before Thanksgiving||November, Before Thanksgiving|
|Maine||First Day of December||First Week of December|
|Maryland||First Day of December||First Week of December|
|Massachusetts||Black Friday||November, After Black Friday|
|Michigan||November, Before Thanksgiving||November, After Black Friday|
|Minnesota||First Day of December||First Day of December|
|Mississippi||Black Friday||First Day of December|
|Missouri||November, After Black Friday||November, After Black Friday|
|Montana||November, Before Thanksgiving||First Day of December|
|Nebraska||November, After Black Friday||November, Before Thanksgiving|
|Nevada||First Day of November||November, Before Thanksgiving|
|New Hampshire||Black Friday||Black Friday|
|New Jersey||First Day of December||First Week of December|
|New Mexico||Black Friday||November, After Black Friday|
|New York||First Day of December||First Day of December|
|North Carolina||First Day of November||November, After Black Friday|
|North Dakota||First Day of December||November, After Black Friday|
|Ohio||Black Friday||First Day of December|
|Oklahoma||First Day of December||November, Before Thanksgiving|
|Oregon||First Day of December||First Day of December|
|Pennsylvania||November, Before Thanksgiving||First Day of December|
|Rhode Island||Black Friday||First Week of December|
|South Carolina||First Day of December||First Day of December|
|South Dakota||Black Friday||Black Friday|
|Tennessee||November, After Black Friday||November, After Black Friday|
|Texas||First Day of December||November, After Black Friday|
|Utah||First Day of November||November, Before Thanksgiving|
|Vermont||First Day of December||First Week of December|
|Virginia||First Day of November||First Week of December|
|Washington||First Day of December||First Day of December|
|West Virginia||First Day of December||First Day of December|
|Wisconsin||First Day of December||First Day of December|
|Wyoming||First Day of November||First Day of December|
When looking at our survey results, we can see that most Americans prefer to hang up their Christmas lights in mid-November, specifically around Thanksgiving and Black Friday. However, a few states begin decorating earlier, with some displaying their yuletide adornments before Halloween. On the other end of the spectrum, we found that some homeowners are procrastinators to the extreme, hanging up their lights on Christmas Day.
House Method surveyed 3,930 Americans using a third-party survey platform to ask their opinion on when it is too early to hang up Christmas lights and when they plan to hang them up. The survey was conducted in October 2022, and we estimate a margin of error of 2% with a confidence level of 90%.