Have yourself an energy-fit Christmas


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Every December, shimmering Christmas lights and displays blanket our streets and homes. Is it beautiful? Yes. Does it make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Of course. But there is also a dark side to all this merriment. The multitude of holiday lights and lit-up reindeer use up Christmas-size portions of energy.

But before you ho-ho-hyperventilate, check out these energy-saving tips just in time for the holidays.


String up LED lights

Choose holiday lights that contain LED bulbs, says the Department of Energy. LEDs consume less electricity than incandescent bulbs. They are also much cooler than incandescents, are much more resistant to breakage, last longer — the Department of Energy claims they’ll last you 40 years — and are easier to install.


Set up timers

There is no need to keep your holiday displays lit up 24/7. The Florida Power & Light Company suggests setting your decorations to timers so they turn off before you go to sleep.


Turn off the lights

If you’re having house guests this holiday season, remind them to switch off all lights when they leave a room, FPL says.


Keep your mitts off the oven

We all know how hard it is to resist peeking into the oven as your cookies and pies bake to perfection. But opening an oven while it’s on releases a lot of heat, reducing the temperature inside by as much as 25 degrees, according to the DOE. Instead, turn the oven light on to take a look.


Invest in glass or ceramic pans

These pans heat faster than metal ones and allow you to set the temperature 25 degrees lower than a recipe suggests, according to FPL. Since ceramic and glass hold heat better than metal, your food will cook just as well at a lower temperature.


Cook with a crock pot, microwave, toaster oven or warming plate

Using these heating methods — instead of an oven or stove — can also save you a significant amount of energy, according to the DOE. Estimate how much energy your appliances with the DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Consumers Guide to Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website.


Choose Energy Star

Electronics and appliances that meet Energy Star standards can reduce energy costs by at least 30%, according to the Energy Star website. Keep checking Energy Star’s rebate website to find special offers and rebates from Energy Star partners in your area.