Hosting friends and family this holiday season takes a lot of energy. While we can’t trim the tree or ensure that everyone gets along, we can offer a few simple ways to bring your energy costs down without compromising your holiday:

Invest in festive, frugal decorations.The traditional strings of big-bulbs may be costing you a bundle! Energy Star-qualified LED lights use 75% less energy than conventional incandescent strings, and automatic timers (both indoors and out) eliminate hassle and wasted energy.

Turn down the heat. Between the extra cooking and extra people, your home will probably be warmer than usual. Rather than waiting till it’s steamy and opening a window, plan ahead and turn the thermostat down before the guests arrive.

Plan your menu. Slow cookers and microwaves are much more efficient than ovens, so plan to make soup in the crock-pot this year. And as long as there’s room for air to circulate, you can stuff the oven full of sides and cook several items at once.

Use the right pan for the job. When you’re cooking on the stovetop, match your pan size to the heating element to make sure you’re not just heating the air. Believe it or not, a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner will waste more than 40 percent of the energy!

Keep the doors closed. From the front door to the oven door, closing doors closed keeps heat where you want it. Every time the oven door is opened, the temperature inside is reduced by as much as 25 degrees, delaying the dinner bell and raising your energy bills.

Wash up efficiently. After you’ve stuffed yourself, stuff the dishwasher. Cleaning a full load takes 37% less water in the dishwasher than it does by hand, and energy saving cycles can save electricity, too.

Stay safe. Besides saving energy, cool-to-the-touch LED lights also reduce fire hazards. While you’re at it, avoid the fire hazards that go along with faulty plugs and overloaded electrical outlets, keep your Christmas tree away from flames or heating sources, and check the batteries on your smoke detector.

Follow these simple efficiency tips and spend this holiday season counting your blessings – not your energy bills.

Want to save even more? Invest in your family's comfort with a FREE one-hour consult and learn how you can qualify for up to $2000 back on upgrades that make your home warm, cozy, and energy efficient.