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Math, Christmas Lights, & the Creator

Christmas Lights

Watching Christmas light shows has become a holiday tradition for many. But few stop to think of all the math that goes into these spectacular displays.

Strands per Outlet or Lights per Circuit

When hanging a lot of lights, you want to make sure you don’t blow a circuit! Bonfe offers this formula to help you figure out how many strands can go in each outlet: # of strands = circuit amperage ÷ strand amperage. We could also use algebra to write this same thing like this: n = c/s or y = z/x. We’re just using letters to stand for the different values, and a fraction to stand for division. Another site says to only use up to 80% of what your circuit can handle as a safety factor. Notice the percents!


Some light shows include timing with music. Syncing music with a light show requires precision that can be accomplished through various software programs that use math to determine when different effects and lights turn on and off at different moments in the show. In this case, programming the time in seconds that the lights sync with the music includes math!

Cost & Number

The financial cost of Christmas decorations can add up fast! Setting a budget and keeping track of how much money is spent uses addition and subtraction…as well as some rounding skills to keep an approximate total in the store. And how many lights do you need to decorate that garage anyway? Math can help you answer that!


    As you drive by light displays this year, remember that math applies outside of a textbook. It even aids with Christmas lights.

    More importantly, think about why math applies. Why can we even know how many amps a string of light will require? It’s because electricity operates in a consistent fashion. Why? Because God created and sustains an orderly universe.

    And that same Creator and Sustainer became a man to make a way for us to know Him by paying for our sin Himself.

    Now that’s something to remember this Christmas and always.

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