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Freedom Fridays

The Four Regulations of Christmas


Now that Thanksgiving has passed, we have quickly moved on to celebrating the coming Christmas season. I imagine many of you have decorated your homes with festive lights, put up a Christmas tree, and are playing Christmas music while sipping hot chocolate and wrapping presents. But as I pointed out last week, even our sacred holidays aren’t out of the reach of federal regulators. Today and for the next three weeks, I will highlight regulations that relate to our celebrations simply to remind you of the impact unelected bureaucrats have on our daily lives.


Freedom Fridays


December 1, 2017 - Let Your Light Shine


In May 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a new regulation on Christmas lights, arguing that certain products posed “a substantial product hazard.” Under the new rules, illuminated products such as strands of lights, stars, wreaths, and electric candles without shades must meet stringent standards related to minimum wire size, strain tolerance, and maximum current. Frequently, many of these products are manufactured outside the United States and imported for retail to American consumers. Now, any products that fail to meet the standard can be stopped and seized at U.S. ports of entry and prevented from being sold. The Commission estimated that the regulation would impact about 100 million items with a market value of $500 million.

While some have argued that the regulation is necessary to ensure that lighting products are as safe as possible, others have pointed to the Obama administration’s scrooge-like attitude towards overuse of electricity and efforts to tamp down on traditionally religious activities as the real reason for this regulatory overreach. Either way, it’s safe to say even our annual tree trimming celebrations aren’t free from regulation!