Managing your finances for Christmas can get tricky and you can end up looking at an empty bank account well before the 25 December. Try these low or no cost decorating and gift ideas, and enjoy a cheaper Christmas with all the trimmings.
The look and smell of a real tree really does make it feel like Christmas. But spending on something you’ll throw out in January can seem like a waste. And the really good artificial trees cost a fortune – plus there are decorations to buy. Why not create a cool and quirky homemade tree with one of these ideas?
• Stack books with spines facing out in a circle and then make another slightly smaller circle on top until you have a tree shape. If you’ve got a really big book collection, just use green ones for a more realistic look. Voila, a book stack Christmas tree!
• A string light tree is a great space saver for small homes and apartments. Take a string of LED fairy lights and arrange them against the wall in a tree shape. Tack to the wall, switch on and enjoy.
• You can always trust Ikea to come to the rescue with cool, low-cost decorations. Their Vinter fabric features a 194cm life size screen print of a Christmas tree. It’ll set you back just $12.50 to buy and hang at home.
• Draw the outline of a tree in green or white on a chalkboard. Make paper ornaments and tape in place to add some colour and shine.
Light it up
Nothing beats a festive light display to let everyone know Santa is coming. In the past power bills for lighting up Christmas have been pretty crazy. But with plenty of LED and solar powered festive lights on the market there are lots of choices that won’t draw much on your power or wallet. A Google search can help you find ones designed for Christmas – from fairy light strings to Santas, sleighs and reindeer.
Hardware stores often sell these too, plus they’ll have outdoor solar lights you can buy all year round that will have your garden or terrace looking festive during December. Try adding outdoor solar stakes in different colours. They’re easy to store and can be used to dress up your home for a party any time.
Gifts for less
Gifts with all the trimmings can take a huge chunk of your festive spend. But there’s no need to give up being generous with these great ideas for saving and giving.
• Use kids’ festive drawings and paintings as cute and colourful giftwrap. Stick with a traditional palette of green and red, gold and silver for the full Christmas effect.
• Kids, particularly younger ones, will love the novelty of a new toy, even if it’s pre-owned. Organise a toy swap party before Xmas to ease the budget burden for everyone.
• Handmade gifts have a charm manufactured ones just can’t match and will cost less if you plan ahead and make enough for everyone. Use your cooking or crafting skills to try your hand at home made preserves, candles or a terrarium.
• If you’re a crafting rookie, check out Pinterest for inspiration and “how-to” guides for beginners. You’ll be hooked on homemade in no time.
When buying pretty much anything is out of the question, look to ordinary household objects for decorative ideas. Here are just a few to get you started:
• Pull out the Scrabble and use the tiles to spell out festive messages.
• Dress up kids’ farmyard toys and animals with coconut flake snow and some greenery gathered from outdoors.
• Stick sheets of wrapping paper in the back of your glass fronted cupboards to brighten your kitchen and living areas.
• Frost empty jars with glitter and use them as votives or fill with colourful wrapped Christmas chocolates.
How will you be doing Christmas on a budget this year? Tell us about your ideas in the comments below.