Catherine Gee of the Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair, shares her top tips
for saving money this Christmas while celebrating in style.
1. Nothing beats a real tree with its Christmas scent, but they can be expensive.
A smaller real tree will still give you the scent (and space for presents underneath)
and will cost less to decorate. Use a simple string of white lights and tie different
coloured ribbons on branches as a quick and cheap option.
2. Save money on wrapping paper by using plain brown paper from a stationery shop
to wrap gifts, then dress them up with pretty twine, raffia or ribbon.
3. Double up a gift for a friend with a lovely day out. Treat a friend to a visit
to the cinema, afternoon tea or to a trip to a Christmas Fair. The Country Living
Magazine’s own event showcasing unique gifts, decorations, crafts, food and inspired
interior ideas is at the SECC in November.
4. Go natural – save a bit on expensive decorations around the house by using foliage
from your garden or go out for a long walk and gather some holly or lovely greenery
just before the big day.
5. Agree a price limit for gifts across the extended family. It’s often more enjoyable
finding the perfect gift for £5 or £10 than splurging out a fortune on another designer
perfume. There will be lots of lovely gift ideas from just a few pounds at the fair.
6. Hand made gifts are always a winner – if you’re good in the kitchen, make a
big batch of piccalilli or chutney. Get some little helpers involved in making treats
like Gingerbread Garlands, Scenty Snowballs and Festive Lovehearts.
7. Food – buy the boring bits online, opting for supermarket own brands to save
time and money, then use your saving for all the special bits of the meal including
a top-notch turkey, cheese and lovely sweet treats. Also, it’s tempting to over-shop
but don’t get in too much and love your left-overs! Make use of every thing, for
example use the turkey to make stock for delicious risottos and use up vegetables
for soups and curries.
8. If you are hosting this Christmas don’t take on all the work and cost of the
meal and ask all your guests to bring a dish or part of each course. If you have
a guest that doesn’t like cooking, get them to bring the cheese, nuts or drinks!
9. Be creative displaying your cards and don’t just stick to the mantelpiece –
hang cards with clothes pegs from string along the banister rail and use sparkly
fridge magnets to display some cards in the kitchen.
10. Send Christmas greetings by email or if you are posting, get organised early
and send your cards by second-class post. You’ll save almost a fiver by sending 50
Christmas cards second rather than first class post.
11. Have a Christmas with a difference and volunteer at your local hospice or homeless
unit. It costs nothing and will spread a bit of love and compassion.