Christmas doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With the shops full of festive ideas and advertisements from October onwards, it’s sometimes hard not to get carried away – but here at Cosy Home, we think that the best Christmases don’t have the biggest price tag attached. Here’s how to achieve a fantastic festive home at a fraction of the price, and have fun doing it.
1. Make it a family affair
Draft in your children, neighbours, family and friends to help. Make sure everyone’s wrapped up warmly, then head out into the countryside with a collecting bag.
Collect small dead branches and twigs with interesting shapes – apple, maple, oak and willow trees work well – and top up your bag with pine cones and fresh holly leaves.
Ask everyone to reassemble back at your house with their haul, and finish off with coffee or mulled wine and mince pies.
2. Alternative Christmas tree
Wipe some some of the branches of different sizes and hang them up to dry completely. Then, get to work.
You can spray paint the entire branch with gold or silver paint, or use glue and white glitter to create sparkly snow. Stick the branches in a large vase, and fill the base of the vase with battery-operated fairy lights.
If you like and your branches are big enough, wrap more lights around them. Decorate with baubles, or with dry pine cones tied on with ribbon for a more natural look.
3. Homemade wreath
Use pliers to snip the hook off a wire coat hanger, and twist the remaining wire into a circle.
Use strips of old fabric to wind round and round the circle (old tights work well for this), until you have a padded frame. Finish by winding wide ribbon round the frame, gluing or sewing the ends into place.
Now, use florists’ wire to attach sprigs of holly, ivy, yew, laurel, small pine cones, little baubles and ribbon bows, and hang up.
4. Reuse reduce recycle
Keep last year’s Christmas cards for reuse. Turn them into gift tags by cutting out the prettiest portion of the design and punching a hole using a hole punch.
Alternatively, create simple mantelpiece decorations by putting the nicest cards in picture frames, or coat the cards in varnish and cut out images to hang on the tree.
Flimsier cards can be cut into strips and made into paper chains.
If you have spare baby food jars, soak the labels off and wash and dry the jars thoroughly. Paint the jars with white acrylic paint and the lids with black paint, and leave to dry.
When the white paint is dry, paint a face with black paint and put the lid back on to make a snowman. Fill the jar with sweets and hang it on the tree where it can double as a mini gift.
5. Budget beauty
There are lots of easy, inexpensive ways of creating a festive feel. Collect jam jars throughout the year, and tie a length of metallic parcel ribbon round the neck. Put a cheap tea light in each one, and dot them round the room – the more the merrier!
Candy canes (available from newsagents and supermarkets for a few pence each) look great tied onto the Christmas tree, but do remember to keep them out of reach of pets.
Buy a pack of cheap plastic baubles, and pile them into a glass bowl with some holly leaves and a set of battery operated fairy lights for a quick table centre piece.