By now we all know that the old incandescent holiday lights are very inefficient but there are more ways to save this holiday season than just changing to ENERGY STAR® qualified LEDlights. Here are some tips to help you save in more ways than one this holiday season.

Use Timers to Set Limits
To help save on your utility bill this month, set limits for your lights. Using a timer to automatically turn lights on when it gets dark and off in the middle of the night, can save you big on your bill. Try keeping light displays on for only 6 hours of the evening (when you can see them) to save a bundle on energy this holiday season.

Shop Local & Walk
Instead of driving around from one mall to another allover Maryland, considerMain Streetshopping in one of our fantastic local towns. Bundle up and walk the streets ofAnnapolis,Bethesda,Ellicott City,Fells Point,Havre de Grace,New MarketorSt. Michaelsto find one-of-a kind gifts and save at the pump as well.

Use Reflective & Electric-Free Décor
Get creative and think beyond lights this year. Reflective ornaments and tinsel will help to expand your lighting display. You’ll be surprised at how shiny a string of silver bells can be on your porch or railing. Remember to include traditional, electric-free decorations like wreaths, garland and ribbons to round out your decorations.

Baltimore's Miracle on 34th Street

Focus Your Yard Display
Setting up an elaborate display of lights is what some people look forward to all year and the urge to outdo last year’s display can be tempting. Yet planning a focused display with a feature décor item like a holiday inflatable or lighted tree can allow you to cut back on the strings of lights you need to use and save on your electric bill.

Plan Out Shopping Trips & Reduce Gasoline Use
‘Tis the season for last minute errands but running around can be a drain on your sanity and your gas tank. Purposeful prior planning prevents poor performance and can help you save money on gasoline this holiday season. Bundle together your gift and food shopping trips, a cold car trunk and insulated shopping bags can help you get more accomplished in one trip. This will save not only energy for your car but also your personal energy.

Slippers are for Everyone
We all know that heat rises and, cool air settles on the floor. But did you know that your whole body will feel warmer if your feet are warm? Don some slippers and you’ll feel more comfortable turning down the heat a few degrees. Small changes to your thermostat can pay-off huge on your December heating bill.

Stovetop Cooking Done Right
Be sure to match the size of the pan to the heating element when using the stovetop. This way, more heat will get to the pan and less will be lost to the surrounding air. A six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner can waste up to 40% of your energy. Clean burners and reflectors provide more efficient heating and helps to save energy. Remember to replace bad reflectors with quality ones to see a better energy savings return.

Lose the Junk in Your Trunk
Using your car’s trunk to hide gifts from prying eyes may seem like the perfect spot but, hauling excess weight in your trunk is a drain your gas tank. Stop burning excess gas and burn some excess calories by carrying your gifts into the house and stowing them.

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David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...