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ImageWith the holiday season comes more than colder weather — there are the parties, the baking, the fixing of family dinners, and, in some cases, the stringing of holiday lights. It’s also a time of year when home energy use can spike, leading to a very large January electricity bill.

This year, do what you can to conserve energy through the holidays and the New Year. Try following these simple tips.

Go LED 
If you string lights outside of your home, try LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lighting. LED lights use 86% less electricity than comparable incandescent lights and have numerous safety advantages. For example, LED lights are shatterproof, present no fire hazard, and, because they emit almost no heat, are safe to the touch.

Reduce Your Home Thermostat
When you home is filled with people, or the ovens are working overtime, or both, the temperature can rise by several degrees. Rather than opening a window or leaving a door ajar, consider lowering your home’s thermostat, or turning off the heat altogether. Each degree “colder” that you set you set your thermostat decreases your home’s energy usage up to 3 percent.

Plan Your Meal
Holiday meals are often prepared in advance of dinner and then reheated or warmed to be ready for company. This leads to running the oven, microwave or stove-top multiple times for each served dish. When possible, prepare foods at the same time and warm in the oven at the same time. In running your appliances less, you will save on energy costs.

Use Your Dishwasher At Capacity
Some dishes require hand-washing. For everything else, use a dishwasher. Dishwashers use less water than is required to wash and rinse plates, utensils and pots and pans by hand. They can also use up to 50% less energy than is required to heat the water you’ll need to wash your dishes manually.

The holiday season can be full of excesses. Don’t let your energy bill be one of them.

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The Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect time to entertain with family and friends. The idea of gathering together at your home is a wonderful way to give thanks and appreciation to your loved ones. Even though the idea of planning, buying, cooking, serving and entertaining may seem a little daunting, there are always easy ways to simplify entertaining.

Want to be the perfect holiday host or guest? Read on for tips to help you entertain in style and actually enjoy the holiday too! and your dinner companions are sure to be thankful.

If you are the host…

1. Plan to provide a traditional Thanksgiving feast, then be creative with side dishes.

2. Whenever anyone offers to help or bring a dish, say, “Yes, thank you!”

3. Use hollowed bread loaves for charming serving containers for cheeses, dips, olives, chips and small sandwiches.

4. Once the table settings and centerpiece are in place, sit in each chair to make sure each guest will feel comfortable.

5. Include favorite kids’ foods, especially those they can eat neatly with their fingers.

6. Provide at least one low-calorie dish and a vegetarian option. Then serve a sinful dessert.

7. Completely clear the table of all dishes from previous courses before serving dessert.

8. Fill the sink with soapy water so cutlery and small dishes can soak clean as the guests are finishing.

9. Make it easy for guests who help you clean up to help you recycle. Place bins in the kitchen labeled “glass,” “cans” and “trash.”

10. Keep club soda nearby to clean spots or stains on the tablecloth or clothing.

If you are a guest…

1. Arrive no earlier than the time the host has announced and no later than half an hour after the time.

2. Plan to stay about an hour after dinner unless travel plans or sleepy children necessitate leaving earlier.

3. Bring a gift and write a note of thanks afterward.

4. Offer to help set up for dinner and to clean afterward.

5. Notify the host of any special dietary needs — if you are a vegetarian, diabetic or allergic to common foods. You can tell the host how to prepare a dish you can eat, or even better, offer to bring that dish yourself.

6. If you’re going to a potluck Thanksgiving, bring a serving dish with your contribution. Remember, the best potluck dishes are those that need minimal preparation in the host’s kitchen, can be served at room temperature and require only a fork to eat.

Happy Thanksgiving!! 🙂

If you have any other useful tips and ideas to share about Thanksgiving, Please share in the comments section below.

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