Shocked by your holiday energy bill? Keep these tips in mind for 2020.

January 8, 2020   By Terri Williams

Shocked by your holiday energy bill? Keep these tips in mind for 2020.

We all tend to spend more money during the holidays – and not just on gifts and food. All of those holiday decorations can lead to serious spikes in your power bill. And if you live in Houston or Dallas, which have some of the highest utility bills in the country, you may be shocked by your electricity bill after this holiday season.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to become a post-holiday Grinch. We spoke with two Texas-based decorating experts to learn about energy-efficient approaches to decorating for the next holiday season.

Exterior holiday decorating

Arlington, TX-based Becky Beach, designer and founder of MomBeach, says her home’s electricity bill was super high last year and she was determined to cut costs. “This year, when I decorated my home for the holidays, I put red and green solar garden lights in the front yard.” The lights cover the length of the walkway.

Beach also used her crafting skills to make a wreath with battery-operated LED lights. “Inside, I put up battery-operated red and green fairy lights on the windows that have a timer on them.” Beach used those same lights on her Christmas tree to give it a sparkling effect. “By using solar and battery-operated lights, my home looks festive for the holidays and I won’t run up my electricity bill.”

Karen Otto of Home Star Staging in Dallas, TX, also believes you can decorate your home for the holidays without using a lot of electricity. “There are now great solar powered string lights that provide magical lighting on everyday objects like wreaths, landscape hedges and other outdoor items, they just need the sun!” Otto purchased a set and used them on a large wooden star at her Airbnb. “They turn on nightly for up to 8 hours of ambient lighting – and the ‘stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas!’”

Use low-energy decorations to save on your energy bills.

However, Otto also wanted low maintenance daytime decor for the Airbnb. “I purchased a set of 3 metal art ‘mice’ and placed them in large metal buckets.” (See photo above). Otto also loves using the mice year-round. “They change seasonally with simple wreaths and faux greenery to greet our guests – no power, water or maintenance required,” she says. “Also, you can hang some large, shatter resistant ornaments on exterior trees for sparkle and shine that lasts all day.”

Interior holiday decorating

Indoor holiday decor can be energy efficient, too.

You can also decorate the home’s interior without lights – and it can still look festive. “I like to repurpose everyday objects and vessels to use as décor seasonally,” Otto says.  “Old pieces of wood, wooden crates, metal containers and other items make great holders for holiday décor.” In the photo above, the dining table centerpiece was once an old chicken feeder!

“From natural objects like pine cones, antler sheds and evergreen boughs (often free at your local Christmas tree lot) you can add sparkle with shiny ornaments, metal décor and the glow of candles around the table for a lovely holiday setting.”

Décor straight from nature

Try using natural objects for indoor holiday decorations.

“Sparkly and mirrored décor picks up light naturally in a surrounding; use these types of ornaments and décor liberally in a space with low light,” Otto recommends. You can also fill a tray or other type of empty container with Christmas tree ornaments, or any type of red, green, or other festive color ornaments.

Make the most of a cozy fireplace

A warm fireplace creates a cozy atmosphere for the holidays.

“The glow of a wood burning fireplace is always a warm holiday welcome,” Otto says. Adding a holiday wreath, and some fresh greenery combine to create an instant Christmas setting. Another idea is to hang garland on the fireplace (but make sure it won’t fall into the flames) or on the staircase. Stockings are also a festive decoration that don’t require any energy.


Terri Williams is a freelance journalist with bylines at The Economist, USA Today, Yahoo, the Houston Chronicle, and U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Image Credit/Lance Selgo with Unique Exposure Photography/Shutterstock