It may be beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but while we may love the idea of decorating our homes with lights, cooking up lots of festive fare, and watching too much television, but all this can contribute to an increase in our energy bills.
The good news is, there are some simple ways to keep costs under control while still being able to enjoy Christmas to the full. Here we take a closer look.
Replace Christmas lights with LED lights
If you’ve had your fairy lights for some time, make this year the one you replace them with energy-efficient LED lights. They may cost a little more, but they use 90% less electricity than traditional lights and last longer, so the upfront investment will soon pay off.
Don’t leave Christmas lights on all the time
Tempting as it may be to adorn your house in lights and then leave them on constantly so that you can show off your home in all its glory, this will cost you.
Save money by turning the lights off during the day – when they won’t have much impact anyway – and only turn them when it starts to get dark in the late afternoon. Remember to turn them off again before going to bed.
If there’s a risk you’ll forget, invest in a timer.
Use candles rather than lights
On occasions such as at mealtimes, try switching off the lights and using candles instead. This will mean you save energy and money – while also making things more atmospheric.
Similarly, think about turning off the main lights when your Christmas tree is lit, as the tree lights should provide enough light for you to find your way around the room.
Cook Christmas dinner more efficiently
When cooking sprouts and other festive fare on the hob, use the correct sized pan ring as this means you won’t waste energy while heating a bigger surface than you need. Cut food into smaller pieces and keep lids on pans to reduce the amount of time food takes to cook.
Try and keep the oven door closed as much as possible when cooking the turkey, as each time you open it, the oven loses heat and has to work hard to get back to the original temperature.
Remember that it takes the same amount of energy to heat a full oven as it does one that’s nearly empty, so cook several dishes at once.
If you need to defrost food, do this in the fridge overnight. This will mean you don’t need to use the microwave – thereby saving energy.
Use the oven to help heat the house
Once you’ve cooked your Christmas dinner, leave the oven door open so the heat keeps your kitchen warm.
Make use of novelty Christmas jumpers
Rather than turn up the thermostat when temperatures plummet, try layering up instead. Many of us have accumulated a pile of novelty jumpers over the years, so use those to keep warm.
Also wear socks and slippers, and consider buying yourself some thermal undies. Use a hot water bottle and put an extra blanket on the bed. All these steps can help you resist the temptation to turn the heating up.
Turn gadgets off standby
Some of us may be lucky enough to unwrap new gadgets, such as laptops, tablets or mobile phones on Christmas morning. But if you do, make a concerted effort this year to actually change your habits and stop leaving devices on standby. This also applies to your televisions, DVD players, radios, printers and games consoles.
Make a habit of unplugging any device that isn’t being actively used, and switching off the power at the plug.
Also remember to unplug chargers, as some older models use electricity even when they’re not plugged into a device.
Crack out a board game
Many of us are guilty of watching too much television over Christmas, so why not save energy – and money – by playing a board game instead?
Switch to a new deal
One of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce your energy bills this Christmas is by checking you’re on the best tariff.
If you haven’t switched energy provider in the past 12 months – or if you’re on your supplier’s standard variable tariff – you are likely to be able to make savings by switching.
While the new price cap, introduced in October, will reduce prices for customers who are on their supplier’s most expensive tariffs – SVTs – you shouldn’t rely on this to do the work for you.
The best approach is to shop around to find the cheapest tariffs. Head here to compare the deals available, and the savings you can make by switching. You could save at least £286* on your bills when you compare with MoneySuperMarket.
Getting a quote should only take you a few minutes. Simply enter your postcode and a few details about your energy usage.
The good news is, there’s no need to worry about disruption to your service. Under the Energy Switch Guarantee, your new provider will take care of all the details, and you should be on your new tariff within 21 days.
*51% of customers who applied to save via MoneySuperMarket could save at least £286.50, June 2020.