Christmas only comes once a year, and so everyone can be forgiven for overdoing the decorations a little bit.
It’s certainly better to have too many than too few, but going overboard can also stretch your festive budget.
However, cutting back on spending doesn’t mean you have to compromise style or variety. Avant Homes interior designer Karen Vincent-Ernst has some tips on getting the festive look without breaking the bank.
You can cut the buying process out altogether by going shopping in your own back garden or the local woods for seasonal effects. Evergreens are in abundance year-round so you’re never far from a holly bush, hedgerow or fern. Sprigs of holly, dry twigs and other plantlife can add a new dimension to existing decorations without having to buy brand new. Speaking of…
Reuse and recycle
If your old wreath or garland is looking a little bear after too many trips in and out of the garage or attic, first consider how you can adapt it before resigning it to the bin. Those gaps can easily be filled by some of the foraged material mentioned above, and give your decorations another year or two of life. Additionally, you can Christmas-fy seemingly non-festive items with some simple additions. Adding holly, twigs and other festive features to candlesticks, centrepieces and other ornaments can give even seemingly innocuous objects a seasonal theme.
The DIY approach applies as much to Christmas decorations as it does to other aspects of your home interior, and there are plenty of items in hardware stores than can make life easier. Cellophane wrap is one great example, as it can often be bought in reams for next to nothing and then used to create unique gift bundles using baubles, ribbon and whatever else you have lying around. If you have the time, you can also source material from the likes of B&Q to create your own wooden or metallic arrangements.
While most people love the smell of a real Christmas tree, they also have several drawbacks, including the endless shedding of spiky pines that get everywhere (including your toes), and the need to dispose of them once Christmas is over. You can get the best of both worlds with a scent sticks such as ScentSicles, which can be placed in the tree or around the room to provide a range of long-lasting, fresh-fir fragrances. You can add another dimension to your tree with a wicker tree skirt, which disguises any accumulated wires at the bottom of the tree and also adds a more realistic woodland appearance. Alternatively, fabric tree skirts cost even less and can simulate snow or a woodland floor as well as providing somewhere to store presents.
If your stockings always hang on the mantelpiece, consider how else they could be utilised around the home. Hanging them on the staircase can be an attractive feature that draws people’s eyes as they enter the house. Dishes of sweets, holly and other festive items can also be placed around the home on sideboards and other surfaces rather than simply residing on the coffee table. One useful tip is to retain empty jars of things like jams, gravy, Nutella and anything else you can think of, which can then be filled with cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves to provide a pretty decoration that also smells fantastic. Also consider using the same metallic ribbon to wrap presents and dress the tree; not only will it cut costs, it will also create a consistent look.
Everyone is familiar with the mad rush to find batteries on Christmas Day for toys, remote controlled cars and a sleigh-full of other goodies, but batteries are not only useful for children’s gifts. Battery-operated candles provide an excellent alternative to real candles, particularly for anyone with small children or pets attracted to flames and trailing wires. Available in all shapes and sizes, many of these now have flicker effects which can add to the yuletide ambience, and better still they can be picked up cheaply from most major supermarkets and discount retailers.
Christmas decorations are not limited to the inside of the house, and while installing Blackpool illuminations outside can leave you with a massive electric bill and require an almost military installation process, there are ways to add a festive touch without it costing the earth. Battery or solar-powered lights run strategically along trees, walls or fences can look pretty without going overboard, while wicker reindeer dotted around the garden will leave Santa in no doubt where to land on Christmas Eve.
For a range of hints, tips and advice on indoor and outdoor style and decorations, visit Avant Life.