The switching on of the Christmas lights usually marks the start of this time of year in most parts of the world. The main streets of cities and towns are filled with light and color, decorated with lighting with Christmas motifs.
This year, the arrival of Christmas coincides with an energy crisis that has been in force since February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has caused an excessive rise in prices, which is why many wondered if Christmas lighting would have limitations in order to save energy and costs.
The Spanish Government decided not to interfere in the Christmas plans of the different cities and left the decision in the hands of the mayors. The reality is that no council has given up Christmas lights despite the energy crisis.
However, most have implemented measures to save energy and costs this year. In cities like Vigo or Barcelona, for example, the Christmas lights go out an hour earlier than usual.
Madrid is another of the cities where more is invested in Christmas lighting: this year, the capital has 230 illuminated spaces, for which 180 euros are paid every hour. Despite the energy crisis, the City Council has not changed the lighting schedule and will not turn off the lights before Christmas.
The energy crisis and the price of light
Energy prices have reached all-time highs in 2022, especially as a consequence of the war in Ukraine. Most European countries have issued sanctions against Russia, and in response, the Russian government has limited gas supplies to the continent. This has caused a shortage of energy and a rise in prices, which is why it is said that Europe is going through an energy crisis.
According to the European Council, it is expected that in the coming months the price of energy will continue to be high in the European Union (EU). The aim is to replace Russian gas supplies with supplies from EU sources, such as renewable energy. But this is an expensive process that takes time.
Meanwhile, the countries of the Union have been applying measures aimed at energy saving for months. In Spain, the government approved in August that public buildings, shops, cultural spaces and hotels limit air conditioning to a minimum temperature of 27 degrees in summer and 19 in winter. In addition, the lights in shop windows and public buildings must be turned off after 10 p.m.
Despite the high prices that electricity is experiencing, Christmas lighting continues to shine in most cities, both inside and outside Spain.
The lighting in Dyker Heights
The tradition of Christmas lighting not only takes place in Spain, but in other countries it is also very common for the streets to be filled with lights. One of the places where they are most committed to this tradition is the United States: there they not only decorate the streets and shop windows, but they also give great importance to the decoration in their homes.
In New York is the Dyker Heights neighborhood, one of the most special places to see the Christmas lights. It is a residential neighborhood full of single-family houses with gardens that are filled with lights every year at Christmas.
Since the month of November, a multitude of visitors and tourists come to this particular New York neighborhood to see the Christmas decorations: they are montages with thousands of lights that cover the entire exterior of the houses and gardens. The neighborhood receives the visit of more than 100,000 people every Christmas.
This tradition is said to have its origins in the 1980s, when a woman named Lucy Spata and her husband Angelo moved to the development. Upon arrival they discovered that practically no one put up Christmas decorations outside. As lovers of Christmas, the couple began to decorate their house with flashy lights, and every year, neighbors from the neighborhood began to join the tradition.