Decorating for Christmas on a budget

Longniddry Village Northfield showhome

At the end of an extremely challenging twelve months, the Christmas holidays are going to be especially welcome this year. Adding some Christmas cheer to your home represents a quick and easy way to lift the spirits of family members and visitors alike. By the start of December, many people had already decked the halls (and landings) with boughs of holly in pursuit of festive cheer. For anyone yet to investigate whether the fairy lights still work, there are more options than ever in terms of decorating for Christmas. However, if you don’t want to spend thousands of pounds recreating your garden centre’s festive model village, there are easy ways to decorate on a budget…

Upcycle old decorations

When you bring out existing decorations and the annual I-forgot-we-had-that ritual gets underway, a few items are bound to be damaged or past their prime. However, that doesn’t mean they’re beyond repair. If a pine cone has fallen off a wreath, snap off another one and rest them on a saucer beside a scented candle. If a strip of tinsel is threadbare in places, cut healthier sections down into pom-poms. Other household objects may also be upcyclable – a tatty blanket could be trimmed and wrapped around wire to create a fashionable tree skirt.

Invest in a pre-decorated tree

This is a significant up-front expense, but a well-manufactured tree will survive ten Christmases or more, making it excellent value for money and reducing its ecological footprint compared to chopping down a real spruce every year. If it’s already covered in artificial snow, baubles and LED bulbs, you don’t need to spend anything on additional lighting or decorations. However, cherished items can easily be tied on with cotton thread or burlap, adding a unique stamp to a mass-produced item. These sentimental decorations could also be taped onto a shelf, or tacked into place on the edge of a sideboard or dresser

Create your own festive items

There’s often no need to spend money on shop-bought items when DIY alternatives are readily available. Save money on card trees by hanging a string between two pins covered with those aforementioned tinsel pom-poms; you won’t be able to see anything other than pretty cards and glittering tinsel once the postman arrives. Ditto a circular piece of wire with pine stems wrapped around it, or a saucer covered in coloured tea lights, though battery-powered tea lights may be safer you have pets or small children.

Add lighting

Illuminated upcycled glass is in vogue at the moment. Pack a jar with any combination of string lights, cinnamon sticks, candied orange slices, cloves and pine cones. Write the numbers 1-24 on a tall candle and wedge it into the neck of a de-labelled glass bottle, burning it down by one number every day. Fairy lights are endlessly versatile, and can be wrapped around home-made shapes (stars made out of collected twigs, for instance) or draped along staircase banisters. Hollowing out an orange and cutting decorative holes in the top creates an evocative and aromatic decoration, once you pop in a candle.

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