Deck the halls—with energy efficiency

Before you climb on the roof in your quest to have the most outdoor holiday lights in your neighborhood, and before you string any bulbs on your tree, take a moment to consider how energy efficient your Christmas decorations are.

Here are five ways to save money on electricity without giving up the holiday glitter this season.

  1. Switch to LED lights. If your strands are so old that the bulbs are incandescent, toss them. New holiday lights are made from LEDs—and they’re better than the old-fashioned kind. They shine brighter, last longer and they’re cool to the touch, so they’re safer. A bonus: Prices of LED light strands are far lower than they were even a few years ago.
  2. Connect your lights to timers. Set the timers so the lights turn on when the sun sets and turn off at bedtime. There’s no need to leave them on all night.
  3. Invest in a few good power strips. Plug all of your strands and lighted decorations into power strips rather than directly into wall sockets, both indoors and out. That way, you can turn everything on and off with the flick of a single switch.
  4. Turn off unneeded lights. If the outside of your home is laden with so many lights it looks like daytime after dark, don’t turn on the porch lights. Same goes for indoors. In rooms where you have Christmas trees or other lighted decorations, turn off some of the lamps.
  5. Go old-school. Instead of decorating your indoor rooms and your tree with lights this year, how about dusting off some family ornaments or organizing an ornament-making evening with your children. Don’t skimp on the glitter; along with some tinsel on the tree, your home can sparkle and shine without using any extra electricity at all.