Light bulbs have long been a symbol of Christmas, but the lights are now on the blink in the wake of the new year.
A year after a surge in demand, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced on Jan. 1 that it would phase out Christmas lights.
The move was meant to ease concerns about pollution and carbon emissions, and the department said it would be replaced by “more environmentally-friendly” LED lights.
But the decision has sparked a backlash from environmentalists, who say the move was an attempt to appease an industry they have labeled “anti-consumer.”
The lights will likely disappear by the end of the year, but they may not be replaced entirely.
In January, the National Association of Home Builders announced that it had reached an agreement with HUD to buy back light bulbs for the next four years.
A spokesperson for the association said the deal includes a $250,000 payment for lighting replacement for those who opt out.
The deal also calls for the government to reimburse homebuilders who are purchasing bulbs.
In February, HUD announced it would also sell lights from companies like Home Depot and Lowe’s for a discount.
But that announcement came only after the National Retail Federation called on the government and retailers to make a similar offer.
While the government initially agreed to buy the lights back for $100 per bulb, that price has now dropped to $60 per bulb.
The lights have become the biggest issue for some lawmakers as they look to avoid having to spend taxpayer money to replace them.
“This is a bad idea for the taxpayers,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in a letter to HUD Secretary Julián Castro.
“If this is going to be done for the Christmas holiday, we will be asking for millions of dollars in additional tax dollars.”
The move also drew criticism from some environmentalists, including Rep. Tom McClintock, R, who said it showed that the administration is “trying to appease a market that is out of control and that has a vested interest in continuing to prop up the status quo.”