Christmas is always an expensive time of the year. It’s not just gift buying, it’s the travelling to see friends and family, the meals and reunions, making sure you have enough food to feed a small army which you will still be eating by Easter, buying decorations and lights because you realise at the last-minute they are all broken. This blog gives you some tips on how to make a homemade Christmas work on a budget without being tacky!
Homemade Gifts and Cards
This does not have to be shoddy and cheap. Homemade gifts, if done correctly, can be very thoughtful and unique and the extra time it takes shows the receiver that you care enough to make them something.
- Hampers are always a good idea. Pop into a craft or charity shop and pick up as many wicker baskets as you need in the size you want. Batches of cakes, cookies, brownies are always a winner. Selfmade jams, seasonal chutneys and pickles can also add festive feelings and bulk to your hamper. If you are feeling adventurous, try adding some homemade wines and beers! Homemade Baileys was a brilliant last year! You can also add personal touches by printing off your favourite photo of you and the recipient and placing it in a nice, hand decorated wooden frame.
- If you really want to show you care, you can make a scrap-book with photos, film stubs, gig tickets, drawings or written keepsakes of the things you have done together and you both treasure. If they are days you love, it’s likely they love them too and to present them in a book they can keep is priceless.
- Home made cards are easy and non expensive. You can buy the basics from craft shops or even supermarkets. Add photos, not only of your friends, but of winter/festive scenes that you have photographed yourself. Finish with creative decorative displays and send, they will appreciate the efforts.
Using nature as a decoration is a great way of saving money but also creating a seasonal feeling.
- By finding branches and spray painting them metallic colours, you can make yourself cost-effective and gorgeous window displays. Finish them off by attaching bows, ornaments and stringing chocolates to them (you can also use these as alternatives to advent calendars). If you can find small Christmas lights (of about 20 bulbs), you can also light it. In minutes, you have a stunning table centrepiece without cringing at cost.
- You can also spray paint fir cones and knot them with holly or mistletoe sprigs and make streamers or place them in bowls with sweets and chocolates. You could also buy pre-made frames and use these materials to make fresh Christmas wreaths for you doors. You could also make mini wreaths for base candle decorations.
- Ice candle holders are also beautiful, unique and free! It also only takes 2 minutes to put together. Shame they only last one night! Cut off the bottom half of a 2 litre sized plastic bottle. Then repeat with a 500ML bottle. Tape the smaller one inside the bigger one, leaving about 2 inches between the bottom of each for the candle to sit. Then generously fill the edges with holly leaves, fir cones and berries. Pour water in the gap until full, you may want to set pebbles in the small bottle to keep it from floating up. Leave to set in the freezer until frozen. Remove the plastic bottles, insert a t-light or floating candle and enjoy the ambience! You get a beautiful, festive and natural centrepiece which disperses light nicely through the ice. I couldn’t help but make one myself!
Christmas is the one time of the year you feel most obliged to see everyone. With different sets of friends, work, school, uni and so on, going to loads of different meals can start to add up cost wise. Throwing a house party is a great way of seeing all your friends at once! Laying on nibbles and drink for just one night is cheaper – particularly if you make them yourself – than eating out repeatedly. It also means that you don’t have to go out and eat your umpteenth roast dinner! It’s a great way of showing off your self-made Christmas and giving out your gifts! And if you are like me and enjoy a Christmas drink or 12, bed wont be too far away…
~Image source for hamper: http://www.flickr.com/photos/intercontinentalhongkong