Make and bake: Seven tips for enjoying Christmas on a budget

Image caption,
No need to get tied up in knots if you're on a tight budget

For people who celebrate Christmas, the catering, the entertaining and present-buying can prove costly, unless you plan wisely.

Bargain hunters have picked up their gifts earlier in the year as well as on the discount days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday last month.

But for those of us still wondering how to save a few pennies this Christmas, here are some tips.

1. Make decorations

Image source, Wendi Berry-Smith
Image caption,
Cutting cost and calories with popcorn garlands

Wendi Berry-Smith, from Cleveland, USA, makes garlands out of popcorn and drapes them on her tree. She told the BBC she was happy to share her idea as it "helps to feed the wildlife too".

Investing in a fake tree can save you money as it can be used over and over again. And if you're short on space, how about half a Christmas tree? They do exist.

Image source, Susan Mann
Image caption,
Christmas tree made out of an old book and cut-out decorations

Blogger Susan Mann makes good use of old books, by transforming them into Christmas trees.

2. Cut out cards

Image source, Dawn Scanlon
Image caption,
Dawn Scanlon sent in her Christmas card made from recycled wrapping paper

Instead of sending a card by snail mail, you could send an e-card or Christmas gif.

If you still prefer the paper kind, how about making your own by recycling last year's cards and wrapping paper?

Dawn Scanlon in Surrey has done just that: "I have made all of my cards this year, and plan to do the same every year. It's so enjoyable and saves a fortune."

3. It's a wrap

Looking for a cheaper wrapping paper alternative? Netmums might have the answer, they suggest recycling children's artwork and using that for your presents.

Not recycled all your Christmas cards yet? Then use them as tags for your gifts.

4. Crafty gifts

Image source, Hazel Howard
Image caption,
Basic treats can be transformed in recycled jars

Hazel Howard in Merthyr Tydfil recycles glass jars and fills them with chocolates for cheap and simple gifts. She also suggests visiting a charity shop for old teacups and filling them with wax to make vintage-looking candles.

Image source, Hazel Howard
Image caption,
Teacup candles, as suggested by Hazel Howard

5. Homemade foods

Image source, @themuddledmum
Image caption,
These reindeers are fun, easy, cheap and no doubt delicious

Cooking a Christmas meal for the entire family can be costly as well as stressful, but when Angela Watkins, in Hong Kong, has her friends over on Boxing Day, she organises a buffet instead of a sit-down meal. "This means two savings - you can serve anything and most guests love to bring a sharing plate. So, more food for all and no need for [Christmas] crackers," she says.

6. Spice up your drinks

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Mulled wine doesn't need to break the bank

Fancy a mulled wine? Why not make your own? asks Victoria Scott. "Buy some cheap red plonk, add a cinnamon stick, some mixed spice and a few cloves, some sugar and some fruit juice, brandy, cassis, or whatever you fancy, and voila. Lovely and a lot cheaper."

7. Sharing moments

Image caption,
There's no price tag on a hug

Catherine Luke, in Zurich, says rather than buying presents why not offer your time or skills?

"Babysit, give music lessons or pass on some of your IT knowledge to someone who needs it."

By Sherie Ryder, UGC and Social News team