Budget Holiday Crafting

Home made wire and bead Christmas Star

Recycled wire, a few old beads and some effort from a 10 year old created this gorgeous simple Christmas star

I start planning and thinking out my next years decorations the day after Christmas.

I know a bit cliché, but true. You can find great deals on holiday clearance sales, which will inspire me on the decor of the following years.

There are tricks to this though, you want more pow for your buck. Some of my best decorations are from decorations that cost merely nothing that I repurposed into something else eye-catching and in some cases a little extra pocket-money, when others wanted my creation. Some of the tricks I use can really apply to any holiday decorations or crafts. Once you have your groove the possibilities are endless.

Finding Christmas decorations to work with…

First, don’t be afraid of damaged items, these are the best deals and can be redesigned with a little imagination.

My favorite creation is a string of greenery garland that was 8 feet instead of 15, yes it had been snapped in two. Yes, sometimes I get stares from other shoppers while I stand in the aisle like a deer in the head lights as my mind races. It’s all in the name of creation. Broken or damaged does not mean trash, a good rule to follow.

Second, yard sales!! Who doesn’t like a good yard sale? Besides the tons of baby and children’s items, you can find piles of Christmas decorations, ready to be reborn, at rock bottom prices. I once got a 13 gallon trash can over flowing with different types of ornaments for $2.00. I was set to make new ornaments and wreaths. Don’t be afraid to haggle, most people selling do not want to pack things back up.

Third, keep in touch with family and friends, many of them clean out and buy new every year or two. Ask for them to set aside their throw aways for you.

There are many tips and tricks, this will get you started. We need to be honest though, we can’t keep everything we find. I think they call that hoarding nowadays. I have 4 plastic totes, once they are filled I end my search. By the end of the holidays my totes are bare and I can begin my search again!

Christmas entertaining tips

Entertaining people is one of the delights of Christmas – socialising, seeing those you care for, relaxing and being hospitable. But it comes at a price – preparing to entertain.

Entertaining can mean a lot of cleaning up, buying food and supplies, cooking and planning which can add up to a lot of stress for many people. Especially if you’re on a tight budget and try to minimise expenses.

Here are a few tips to get your entertaining preparations under control this Christmas:

  1. delegate – most Australians are used to ‘bringing a plate’ so don’t be afraid of asking people to help with the food
  2. ignore ‘unseen’ parts of your home for December – don’t bother dusting, vacuuming or even tidying the study, ensuite, garden shed, etc if no one will be going in those areas. Stick to public areas and go for clean and presentable rather than perfect
  3. use short cuts in the kitchen. For example, buy packets of fruit mince pies or fruit cake and just ice them yourself, buy tartlet cases, prepared custard and fruit to make fruit tarts, use an electric mixer or blender instead of stirring or chopping by hand, and cook in advance and freeze food to reduce cooking on the day
  4. get the kids to make paper chains as a cheap decoration that helps keep them busy while you work, too
  5. flat red sheets make great tablecloths – easy to wash, can be reused as sheets and are big enough for large tables. They’re generally cheaper than tablecloths, too. You could decorate them with fabric pens and paints, or leave them plain so you can brighten them up in different ways for each event and following Christmases – pretty runners, tinsel, Christmas balls, scattered popcorn, ivy and other greenery, glitter and paper chains are all ideas for adding interest to the tableRed and white setting for a Christmas table
  6. put some candles around the room and house – they give a lovely light in the evening and can smell beautiful at any time. Candles are much quicker to set out than  a lot of other decorating ideas yet look classy
  7. give yourself permission to relax and enjoy the events you host – people are there to see you and celebrate Christmas, being together and the end of another year so relax and be with them instead of running around aiming for an impossible target of perfection
  8. consider using plastic cutlery and plates so you can set them out in advance without interfering with your daily needs. Before you worry about the low quality plastics or the financial and environmental cost of disposables, think about using some good plastic plates and cutlery such as from your picnic set. The bright colours will just add to the festive atmosphere and plastic takes away any risk of broken dishes hurting people
  9. set yourself a schedule for cleaning so it doesn’t become so overwhelming. For example, sweep and mop the floors on Monday, clean the bathroom on Tuesday and dust on Wednesday. On the actual day you then only need to do a quick once over everything to be ready
What other time and cost saving tips can you add?
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