Our Christmas Decor Hacks
Following on from yesterday’s Christmas Decor Hacks post I thought it would be nice to share some of our own little things that we do in the run up to Christmas to save time and money.
Christmas can be a major squeeze to the finances and the cost of what is essentially a few days can overcloud the ‘meaning of Christmas’. Here are a few tips on how to make life a bit easier on yourself and keep on track whilst making it a family event as it should be.
When it comes to Christmas Decorations, we don’t have a colour scheme or a theme of any kind. Our Christmas Tree is decorated with decorations that we have collected over the years and lots that the kids have made. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here are some of the decorations that we have.
Paint your own Baubles – My Mum bought Isabelle a couple of sets of Paint your Own Baubles which she painted and covered with glitter. This gave Isabelle something fun to do on a cold dreary day and the new baubles are added to our collection of much loved decorations. We made some Lollipop Stick Stars a few years ago which are still going strong.
We’ve got a few bits and bobs that both of the kids have made over the years, but this little Christmas Tree that Ryan made when he was about five (he’s now 17) comes out year on year, and will for as long as it lasts. We’ve put it at the top of the tree so the dog doesn’t attempt to pinch it and eat it.
We also have some personalised tree decorations which were given as gifts in stockings or from Grandparents. We even have one for both of them which doubles up as a money box.
For hanging Christmas cards get a large ribbon from a card shop and attach it to a long piece of ribbon. Hang from the wall. We attached baubles to the bottom to weigh it down (and looks pretty too) and then staple the cards to the ribbon.
Tea Light Jars – Decorate jars by painting them and add tea lights to them.
Make decorating the tree a family event – We bought sweets and put on Christmas music whilst we decorated the tree followed by Homemade Hot Chocolate and a Christmas film. This took the whole afternoon and is always really nice reminiscing as we unpacked our decorations.
Get a notebook and write down everything. Write a list of all the people that you are buying a gift for and as you buy it, write down what you’ve bought (I’m terrible at remembering what I’ve bought and often unearth things that I’ve bought without remembering). Keep this in your bag so that if you make a trip into town or do a spot of online shopping you can quickly refer to it and add as you go along. This goes for Christmas cards as well. This will also help to stick to your set budget.
Shop around – If buying online make sure that you do a bit of research, especially if buying expensive presents. Sign up for newsletters and take advantage of any Christmas offers that arise in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Making a Christmas wish list that you can share with friends and family would also avoid doubling up on gifts that the kids already have.
Only buy gifts that you know that the kids want. It’s really easy to bulk out the tree with additional presents to give it a bigger WOW factor. We learnt this mistake the hard way when we realised that a lot of the last minute, unthought of presents weren’t really played with so were completely unnecessary.
It’s not just you that has financial worries over the Christmas period. Do you need to buy gifts for everybody? Check with your friends to see if they’re happy to maybe just buy for the kids or buy a token gift. Not everybody wants a big flashy present. Buy a token gift but set a date to go out and do something together. Time can be the biggest gift you can give.
Make your own handmade wrapping paper – All you need is some brown paper and some little one’s to decorate.
Christmas Cards – Make your own Christmas Cards with the children. If you have kids then you must have craft resources. All you need is a pack of plain cards which can be bought cheaply, lots of glitter and some pain. I keep these to family only but they mean so much more and the kids love making them.
Use last year’s Christmas Cards to make gift tags for this Christmas by cutting out, making a hole punch and using coloured ribbon or string.
If you have kids and have bought this year’s school photo’s – put them in a nice frame and give as an inexpensive present.
If you’re not sure what to buy as a gift make a hamper – pick a theme, buy a gift box and some of that shredded coloured stuff and add to it anything that you think the recipient would like such as a pamper hamper, sweeties, chutney’s and Jams, nail varnish or chocolate.
It’s a bit late in the day for this tip, but for next year make a Book Advent Calendar for the kids. Buy a selection of kids books (Christmassy or non-Christmassy) and wrap them. Add a numbers to each one and make that the bedtime story for that day. To cut down costs have a scour of your local charity shops where you can pick up books cheaply.
Make your own presents – There are oodles of recipes available (try Pinterest) for edible gifts that you can make including homemade jams and chutneys and sweet treats.
Booze and Food – We all feel like we have to fill our houses full of food (some of which we don’t actually like) and drink for that just in case ‘so and so’ pop in. For larger items such as alcohol check out the comparison sites to work out the best deals. I love all the picky food that we get over Christmas for the endless trips to the fridge because we’re feeling a bit peckish. Who else has a fridge full of cheese that they then live off into the New Year??
Don’t forget to go to the shops in January and pick up wrapping paper, Christmas cards and maybe one or two ‘nicer’ Christmas decorations that are now on sale and cost a lot less for next Christmas.
The most important tip is to enjoy it.
Just for a bit of fun here are the Christmas Number 1’s for the year we were born:
Me – Don’t you Want Me – The Human League
Daddy – Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade
Ryan – I have a Dream – Westlife
Isabelle – When we Collide – Matt Cardle
Have any great tips of your own?
Pop them below.
*This post was originally posted in December 2016.