This post was sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities as part of their Project Envolve Ambassador program. All opinions expressed in my post are my own.
The holidays are quickly approaching and that means spending time and connecting with friends and family at holiday parties. I have a friend who can host 100 people for food and drinks and make it all look so easy–however, I’m not one of those people. I get entertaining anxiety so I have to keep it simple or it isn’t going to happen so here are my Easy Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining. Number #1–Keep the food simple. Unless you are a gourmet cook who can whip up delicious meals without breaking a sweat, then keep your stress level and costs down and keep it simple.
The holidays are such an expensive time that I like to trim costs wherever I can and that also means when it comes to my energy usage. Between holiday baking and meal preparation, your oven is probably working overtime. Cooking alone accounts for 4.5 percent of your home’s energy use, and when factoring in other kitchen appliances, your kitchen’s energy use can be as high as 15 percent. (*Source)
For food, I like to put out easy appetizers, especially things that don’t require keeping warm, like this easy meat and cheese platter. Add some crusty bread and Garlic Infused Olive Oil and yum–everyone is happy! This yummy Cheesy Ranch Chex Mix is always a hit and it takes just 5 minutes in the stove so you are keeping your energy costs low. I also love to serve this 30 Minute Chili–yes, you read that right, it’s ready in 30 minutes so it is perfect for a last minute get together. For dessert I like to set up a hot chocolate bar and a coffee bar with some yummy desserts so that everyone can help themselves. Things like this yummy Apple Pie can be made in advance, as can this Cherry Oatmeal Cobbler. Number 2–keep your decoration simple. I love to decorate with lights, lots and lots of lights. I put hundreds on my Christmas tree and spread strands of lights across my mantle.
Did you know that LED lights are sturdier and more resistant to breakage? In addition, LED holiday lights also last longer and consume 70 percent less energy than conventional incandescent light strands. It only costs $0.27 to light a 6-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs compared to $10 for incandescent lights. (*Source).
Plus, they look awesome and add a soft glow to your home. Speaking of soft glows, decorate with candles. I love using candles of all sizes around my house, there is just something magical about it and lends a whimsy to your get togethers. Or better yet, if you have a fireplace then use it! Why crank up your heat when you can have the soft glow of a fire? We always light our fireplace when we entertain and people always end up congregating around it. It’s perfect too, because it warms the room we are all in, so I’m not wasting money by heating rooms that aren’t being used for the party. We recently added a fireback to our fireplace as well and have been amazed at how much more heat gets pushed back out into the room just by placing the fireback in the fireplace. It is definitely one of those items that cost money up front but end up saving you money as time goes on.
What kind of entertaining are you planning doing this holiday season? Want to learn some more energy efficient ways to save?
Click here to check out the Project Envolve website for inspiration.