FORT WAYNE — With Thanksgiving here, people will soon be putting up their holiday decorations. Decorating for the holiday season is a great way to spread cheer, but it can make a costly and hazardous time of year even more expensive and dangerous.

Indiana Michigan Power seeks to help people during this season by providing energy efficient holiday decoration ideas and safety reminders to get into the holiday spirit.

According to the Edison Electric Institute, in 1882, Thomas Edison, who invented the incandescent light bulb, showed off to reporters the strings of electric lights around his holiday tree at his New Jersey home. Since then, electric lights have helped customers celebrate the holidays. Fast forward to today and our technology is more energy efficient, but we still need to be safe.

“Indiana Michigan Power is dedicated to making your holidays bright, efficient and safe,” said Heather Riggle, Energy Efficiency Residential Accounts manager for I&M. “If you’re using one string of lights or going all out like Clark Griswold in the movie ‘Christmas Vacation’, it’s always important to review safety procedures if decorating is part of your holiday tradition.”

Deck The Halls and Conserve Energy

Lights hung on trees or roofs are a great way to make your home or business shine during the holiday season. You can decorate and save money using these energy efficient ideas:

• LED and strand lights can be great decorations while also saving energy. ENERGY STAR qualified LED lights use 90% less energy than traditional bulbs. The cost to light a typical tree with LEDs is about $1 per season. LED lights generate less heat, are cool to the touch and can last up to 10 years. They’re brighter, eco-friendly and safer since they are much cooler than incandescent lights. LED flameless candles are also safe and energy efficient alternatives to candles.

• Lining walkways with LED lights can save money and keep everyone safe as they enter. The path lights come in many designs and creative a festive welcome for homes and businesses.

• Smart power strips can be used to corral extra cords. These strips can sense when a device is turned off or not being used and will shut off the power automatically Automatic timers can also be used to turn lights off when leaving the home or office.

• People can also decorate without using electricity. Place ornaments in a glass jar for table decorations, add tinsel and bows for a touch of sparkle, or place figurines on office surfaces such as desks, shelves and countertops.

• People can use greenery for garland, indoor or outdoor wreaths and floral arrangements. Real or faux, greenery doesn’t use energy, but LED lights and festive ribbon can be added for an extra cost-efficient touch.

For more than 100 energy efficiency tips, rebates and energy efficient efforts, visit electricideas.com.

Safety Tips

Having a happy holiday season with your friends, family and loved ones means having a safe holiday. Before you decorate, consider some of these safety tips:

• Before installing lights, check each set — new and old — for damaged sockets, loose connections and frayed or bare wires. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.

• Never use more than three standard-sized sets of lights per extension cord.

• Plug exterior lights into ground-fault interruptible outlets only. If the home lacks outside GFI outlets, call an electrician to install them.

• Don’t run electrical cords through door or window openings where they can be damaged.

• Before climbing a ladder, inspect it to ensure it’s in good working condition and follow the weight limits specified on the ladder and manufacturer instructions.

• Never use a ladder on or near power lines or poles.

• Before decorating, determine how many outlets are available and where they are located. Plan your displays accordingly to avoid anyone from tripping over cords.

• Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or devices. They can overheat and cause a fire.

• Don’t connect lights while adjusting them on the tree. Unplug lights when changing bulbs.

• Don’t let bulbs touch flammable material, including needles, branches and other decorations.

• Make sure household smoke detectors are working properly.

• Warn children never to touch tree lights or electric toys with wet hands.

For more safety tips, visit indianamichiganpower.com/safety.

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