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There are plenty of eco-friendly ways to light up the holiday season without blowing up the balance on your power and gas bills.

Check out these easy ways to save money by using less electricity:

Unplug Phantom Energy Users Before Travel
If you are leaving on vacation, there are home electronic devices that you can simply unplug to help save energy. Several electronics use energy even when they are not turned on - often referred to as "phantom energy."

Desktop computers, printers, TVs, Blu-ray and DVD players, and video game consoles are just a few of the items that burn “phantom energy” – unplug before you go, and enjoy the savings.

Utilize Timers
You can save a ton of money by putting both your outdoor and indoor lights on a timer. Try to limit your lights to five hours a day. Forgetting to turn out your lights just a few times can spike your bill. Having timers allows you to “set and forget” your decorative lights.

Buy LED and Fiber Optic Décor
Technology has come a long way, so why hasn’t your Christmas decorations? Get rid of those dull strands of lights from 1985 and upgrade to new LED and fiber-optics looks.

LED holiday lights use 90% less electricity than traditional lights, and they tend to shine brighter and have more vivid color. They don't burn out, like other bulbs; and they don't get hot to the touch, making them safer as well. LED lights are more efficient, durable and longer-lasting than fluorescent incandescent lights. LED Christmas lights use light emitting diodes, rather than filament to produce light. The bulbs are plastic, so they are much harder break.

You may have noticed that most artificial trees, wreaths, and other décor has been upgraded as well. With fiber optic décor, a single light bulb located at the base of the structure emits light to all of the “tentacles”. This can give a unique and magical look to your décor. And the minimized light sources help to keep the needed energy low and eco-friendly. 

Let It Glow
When you’re in the same room as the Christmas tree, turn off the other lights around the room. Use the warm and colorful glow from your tree to light the room instead. In combination with a TV, mobile devices, and other electronics, there should be more than enough light for everyone in the room.

Blankets to Bundle
Instead of turning up the thermostat, opt to put on a sweater or wrap up in a blanket. Warm holiday drinks, like Christmas spice hot chocolate, can also free you from any shivers. Also, turn down the thermostat whenever you cook. The extra heat energy from the kitchen can warm other nearby areas of your home. And if you’re having guests over for a holiday party, turn down the thermostat – the extra body heat will keep it toasty.

Kitchen Heat
Cooking and baking are both a favorite American activity during this time of the year. Make the most of the energy you are using by cooking several dishes at the same time. This can save you lots of cash since it takes the same amount of energy to warm the oven, regardless of how many dishes are inside. You can also save by limiting the amount of appliances you use. Typically, the smaller the appliance, the less energy it uses. Also, keeping lids on pots can help you cook food faster and keep food heated longer. And try storing warmed food in the microwave until serving. The insulated microwave keeps food hot.

Using a little less energy this holiday season can save you big bucks in the long run. Your credit card bills and debit card swipes are likely to increase during this time of the year. There’s no need to make your power and gas bills any larger.