Our tips for an energy efficient Christmas
The holidays can be a great opportunity to relax and spend time with family and friends. But this season can be stressful if you’re trying to watch your energy use, either because you’re worried about money or trying to make more sustainable choices. Buying gifts, preparing lavish meals and celebrations often cause an increase in both energy and money spent.
To help you save money and reduce your energy use this season, we’ve come up with our top ten tips for an energy efficient Christmas …
1. Celebrate together
This might be our simplest, yet most effective tip for an energy efficient Christmas — if you can, either host a group or join others for celebrations. This will hugely cut down your energy use as the costs of heating, lighting, and cooking will be shared between you. If you’re hosting, you can also ask your guests to bring certain items, spreading the cost between you. This might be asking someone else to bring dessert if you’ve cooked the lunch.
2. Travel together
Travelling somewhere for Christmas? Lift sharing with others attending the same celebration means you’ll save fuel and money. There’s lift-sharing websites and apps, like BlaBlaCar, that can help you find people travelling to the same destination.
You don’t have to be alone this Christmas.
If you, or someone you know, will be alone this Christmas, there’s lots of community and charitable organisations that can help. Lots of organisations provide support and companionship to people over the holidays with free communal lunches, doorstep visits and food parcels:
Warm Spaces is an online directory of warm, welcoming public spaces where you can spend time for free. Many of them are community spaces that are putting on holiday celebrations.
Look out for local community centres, restaurants and pubs that are hosting Christmas events – lots of these are completely free.
Age UK’s advice line offers support to older people as well as their families, friends, and carers.
The Marmalade Trust offer free communal Christmas lunches and doorstep social visits for those unable to attend events.
Foodbanks provide free food parcels and compassionate support for people struggling to afford groceries over the holiday season (and all throughout the year). Find your local Trussel Trust foodbank here. You’ll need a referral from Citizen’s Advice to use a Trussel Trust foodbank, but you may be able to access other foodbanks, for example those run by churches and faith groups, without one.
Switch it off!
3. Turn off (indoor and outdoor) Christmas lights when you’re not using them.
There’s no point paying to light up your Christmas tree when everyone’s asleep! Timer plugs are relatively cheap to buy and can be a really useful way to help make sure your lights are only on when you need them, especially if you’re prone to falling asleep on the sofa after Christmas lunch! You can set a time when you want something, for example, the lights on your tree, to turn off automatically.
Buying new lights this year?
If you’re buying new lights, make sure they use energy-efficient LED bulbs. You could try solar powered lights to save even more energy!
4. Power down your telly.
In the UK, we watch more TV over Christmas than at any other time. At the very least, make sure you turn off the TV when no one’s watching. Or try swapping some TV time for an energy-free activity like a board game!
Finally, make sure all devices like TVs, game consoles and computers are fully switched off and not left on standby as this wastes energy.
5. If you have lots of people over, turn down the heating.
When there’s more people in your house it gets warmer, so you don’t need to run the heating as much or as at high a temperature. Try turning the heating down by one or two degrees when you have people over – you’ll save money on your energy bills and you likely won’t notice the difference.
6. Get your Christmas jumpers on!
Time to show off your most embarrassing festive jumpers, socks, and slippers! Try wrapping up a bit warmer and turning the heating down a little to save energy and money this season.
Recycle, reuse, reduce.
7. Reuse wrapping paper or try an eco-friendly alternative.
Wrapping paper can’t usually be recycled because of its plastic or foil lining, and it can be expensive. If you receive wrapped gifts, save what you can to use again next year. Try wrapping gifts in old newspapers (bonus points if you choose a story the recipient will enjoy) or any of these fun alternatives to traditional wrapping paper.
Recycling doesn’t have to be limited to wrapping!
Second-hand, recycled and upcycled gifts all help to save energy and money and reduce waste.
Energy efficient cooking.
8. Keep the lid on.
Keeping lids on pans can reduce the energy used in cooking by around 10%. It also helps reduce the amount of moisture produced when you cook, preventing condensation, damp and mould.
9. Embrace your microwave, slow cooker, or air fryer (if you have one).
All these cooking devices are more energy efficient than an electric oven, so can save you money off your energy bill. But this only works if you’re not already using your oven for something else – for example, there’s no point in making roast potatoes in an air fryer if you’re already roasting a turkey in the oven.
If you are using your oven this Christmas, try and cook things all in one go so you don’t need to heat the oven multiple times. Also, try to open the door as infrequently and for as short a time as possible, to keep the heat inside so it uses less energy to stay at the right temperature.
10. Eat your leftovers!
We waste a huge amount of food each Christmas in the UK – the equivalent of two million turkeys! Save money and energy by only cooking what you need and eating up any leftovers. There’s loads of recipes to help you use up your Christmas dinner leftovers. It’s recommended you store leftover food in the fridge, freeze anything you don’t eat within two days and reheat food to steaming hot.
For more inspiration about how to have an energy efficient Christmas, there’s more energy-saving ideas in our 101 Energy Tips.