It’s officially December, you’ve opened up the first door on your Advent calendar and nobody can complain about you’re your decorations being up too early.
But making your home look festive can end up costing you quite a bit of money. So what can you do to fork-out less for fairy lights, bring down your spending on baubles and have a more eco-friendly Christmas?
Check before you buy
It can be so tempting to rush out and buy a load of new Christmas decorations every year, but chances are you still have lots of tinsel tucked away in the back of a cupboard or in the loft.
So, make sure you check what you already have before you go out and waste money on new decorations you don’t really need.
If you want to be ultra-prepared for next year, why not pick up some bargains in the sale after Christmas, when stores will be looking to offload left-over decorations at a knock-down price.
It costs an average of £8.94 to keep the fairy lights on during December, according to Which?.
So, if you’ve just discovered your Christmas lights from last year don’t work anymore, why not consider energy efficient LED fairy lights, which will only add 90p to your energy bill?
But this isn’t the only way to have an eco-friendly Christmas. In fact, there are loads of ways to reduce the amount of plastic and paper you use.
Try wrapping presents in newspaper. It might look a bit bah-humbug, but it’s easy to jazz your wrapping up with reusable ribbons and colourful gift tags. This not only reduces the amount of plastic you use, but it’s also a lot cheaper than buying wrapping paper.
Why not also try recycling last year’s Christmas cards by turning them into present labels? Just cut out a shape making sure nobody’s written on the back already, and use a holepunch so you can attach it to your gifts
Speaking of cards, decorate your house by hanging up your Christmas cards across the room on some string.
This time of year is perfect for getting Christmas crafty with the kids and making your own decorations.
You can start off with something as simple as spray painting pine cones and build up to something more difficult like salt dough ornaments.
Paper chains are a great cheap and recyclable alternative to tinsel, and you can get out and about and forage some holly and ivy for a wreath or decorations for the mantelpiece.
Real or fake
Now you’ve got your decorations, it’s time to start thinking about the tree.
Real or artificial is a difficult choice. Real trees are normally cheaper but will only last one Christmas, unless they’re potted. Artificial trees are usually more expensive, but can last a long time if you look after them properly.
However, there are other factors you might want to consider. For example, if your real tree is going to drop its needles, then how often are you going to need to run the hoover to clean them up. If you’re getting a fake tree, do you have the space to store it in?
Think about your pets
Do you have any expensive Christmas decorations, fragile glass baubles or perhaps ones with sentimental value? Do you also have a cat or dog?
Well then you might want to consider putting your better decorations at the top of the tree to protect them from swishing tails. If you have an excitable pet who’s likely to try and scale your Christmas tree, it could be worth trying to anchor it to the wall. A few minutes of extra work could save you the stress and expense of a toppled tree and smashed decorations.