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I don’t know about you, but after the year we’ve all just had, I am so ready for Christmas. And by Christmas – I mean I’m ready to celebrate throughout the whole month of December in a bid to bring some essence of normality to 2020.
However, a month-long celebration has the potential to become expensive, which is why I wanted to ask some of the UK’s finest bloggers how they get in the festive spirit without breaking the budget.
Personally, my favourite tradition involves wrapping up warm and meandering round the streets of our village, touring the various Christmas lights on display on the houses and along the High Street. There’s something about the cold night, and the warmth of the lights, that just warms these cockles of mine.
On a typical year, we’d then head to our local pub for a quick drink, before heading home for homemade mince pies and a television Christmas special or two. The pub might not be a goer this year, but PJs, Elf, fluffy throws and working through a tub of Celebrations sounds like a great alternative!
So, grab a cuppa and some biscuits, maybe even whack some Buble on, and find out how we can all get into the festive spirit – on a budget!
Emma Jackson at Bee Money Savvy makes her own crackers with her family. It means they don’t have to buy them from the shop, can personalise the items inside to everyone’s likes, avoid unnecessary plastic, and use freebies and samples they’ve collected. It’s also a nice way to spend family time on Christmas Eve.
Claire Roach and her family make a centrepiece for their Christmas table. They go out for plenty of Autumn walks and always pick up a few pinecones to save ready for their creation. They then cover them in glitter and pop them in a bowl with a candle in the middle. It’s so special and keeps them busy for a while. Find Claire over at Money Saving Central.
Melissa Shaw over at Skinny Spending stopped buying and sending Christmas cards, and instead has her five year old daughter make personalised cards for close family.
Samantha Joanna Lyon from Yet Another Mummy Blog is starting a new tradition this year, and it’s a mix of green and cost-saving. Instead of buying shiny wrapping paper (which can’t be recycled most of the time), she’s bought brown wrapping paper and Christmas-themed stamps. “My toddler gets to have fun stamping the paper and making it all colourful, and it’ll mean more to my family than store-bought wrapping paper”.
Over at Mummy’s Waisted, Gemma Hall and her family get crafty. “We have a lot of plain walls so we make paper chains to get every room in the Christmas spirit. The kids love it as they can see how long they can make a chain, and try to beat each other! It’s lovely and relaxing, perfect when you need a moment of calm”.
Jo Jackson at Tea and Cake for the Soul creates an alternative to Christmas cards for her nearest and dearest. They’ve included personalised candle holders, baubles, and pictures to frame. They’ve all been well received, and this year it’s tins of Christmas tea. Even better – they’re all things that can be reused afterwards!
Em from Love, Em saves money at Christmas by taking old Christmas cards and turning them into gift tags. “It’s really fun to do and adds a personal touch. Instead of extravagant ‘Christmas Eve gift boxes’, we have a challenge to only buy things from Poundland. It’s a great way to save money and still treat the ones you love!”
Claire St at Bossy Girl gets crafty with her family. “I help my two-year-old son to make his own Christmas cards and we often make baubles and salt dough decorations. Each year we try and find a new decoration too, so we can build our collection up. I’ve already bought this year’s addition: a wooden peg nativity scene”.
Victoria Sully at Lylia Rose has started using the same reusable fabric Christmas sacks each year, in all sizes, in her household. It stops them buying wrapping paper every year, and will hopefully create feelings of nostalgia has the children grow older and have the same sacks every Christmas under the tree.
Every year, Jade Wilson at Everyday Young Mum buys a new ornament for the tree and writes the year on the back. (Side note: this is one of my personal must-buys from every new country I visit. It takes me so long to put up the tree as I’m too busy reminiscing on all my adventures with every bauble I unwrap from storage!)
When Emma John Welford’s girls were younger, they used to have a Christmas Eve gathering of friends for a few hours every year. It gave the kids a great afternoon, tired them out and allowed us parents to relax for a few hours without spending any real money. The kids also went to bed that much earlier, allowing us time to do final preparations – double win! Find Emma over at Tuppenny’s Fireplace.
Hayley Muncey, over at Miss Manypennies, likes to bake mince pies with her family while listening to Christmas music on Christmas Eve. They’re simple enough to make that the kids can easily do it, and the ingredients are pretty cheap. Plus, jars of mincemeat get reduced in supermarkets just after Christmas, so you can pick them up extra cheap and just pop them in the cupboard for next year!
Emily Nutley always builds ginger bread houses to get in the festive spirit! It’s super simple, and she’s excited to bring this to her new family as she and her partner share their first Christmas together, as she’s been working Christmases for the past six years. Find Emily at Millennial Saves.
On Christmas Eve, Maxine Black from Almost the Weekend has a family cookie decorating contest. “At least, it never started out as a contest, just a fun activity, but it’s got more competitive over the years!”
Magdalena Marsden from Yum Eating always has a gingerbread biscuit day, where she and her family bakes and decorates gingerbreads with lemon icing. “It’s a great family activity – we chat as we work and the whole house is warm from the oven and the smell of cinnamon is everywhere”.
Lavania Olewa Oluban from The Amazing Adventures of Me always makes and decorates gingerbread houses in a mammoth setting, and then gifts them to family and friends. They even have requests and wish lists for themes now!
Over at Stressed Mum, Samantha Donnelly spends Christmas Eve with her daughter making sausage rolls and mince pies. “When she was little she would leave a mince pie and little drink for Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolf, before going outside with her Dad to sprinkle special reindeer food so that they would know where her house was”.
Taking in the Sights
During the week before Christmas, Josie Cornhill from Chelmsford with Children, wraps up warm and goes out for a drive to look at the local Christmas decorations. They look at some from the car, and then park somewhere there are quite a lot and have a walk around, before heading home for hot chocolate and marshmallows.
On Christmas Eve, Emma Drew at Mrs Pinch goes for a drive around all the local villages to see the Christmas decorations and lights. She gets comfy in the car with a blanket and hot chocolate and it feels really magical!
As we all know, Christmas can be an incredibly expensive time of year, with YouGov finding the average Brit spends £1,116 throughout the festive season – often turning to credit cards to cover it.
However, a lot of the time, it doesn’t have to be quite so pricey, and with a little planning and creativity, you can have the best (and most frugal!) Christmas yet – and maybe even create some new family traditions to enjoy for many years to come!