Christmas has passed me by a bit this year. I’ve been so overwhelmingly busy, I haven’t had time to really enjoy all the lovely festive things that usually kickstart my Christmas spirit. Somehow, chugging eggnog while speed-wrapping presents and skipping to the choruses of my favourite festive songs just isn’t the same.
But, as a freelancer I’m happy to be busy, and despite my heavy workload I have found a way to squeeze some festive fun into my limited time… and I did it all on a thrifty budget, too. Smug. So if you, like me, find yourself wearing three Christmas jumpers at once and scheduling the opening of your advent calendar a week in advance, here are a few ways to save your time and your spirit. You might even save some pennies, too.
In May this year, our brown and rotting Christmas tree was still sitting in the garden. This, combined with the broken table that’s been in the boot of my car for three months, tells me Rob and I are not really great at disposing of large items. The tip is not a place I want to visit on a Saturday afternoon.
So, for Christmas 2012, we ordered our tree from The Christmas Aspect, (as recommended by Lil) along with some logs for our wood burner. They delivered everything early one Saturday, letting us know they were on their way then just leaving our tree and logs the door for us to bring in when we were ready. The best bit about it, though, is the collection – when the festivities are over, some lovely person will collect the ghost of Christmas past and our neighbours will no longer call us ‘the couple at number 16 with the dead Christmas tree in their garden’. Aces.
With the tree upright and Travis locked out of the room, I set about decorating it. I mention my Christmas decorations every year because I often get emails asking where they’re from – I bought them on eBay a few years ago. They’re hand-painted wooden baubles (and a couple of birds!) and were £10 for about 20. I also have a few wicker hearts dotted about that cost a couple of quid for a big box from Ikea.
I’m not a fan of glittery, glitzy Christmas decor and prefer a warm, traditional feel. Tinsel is banned in our house but a big tree can look bare without it, so I use ribbon as a stylish alternative. I bought three 3 metre rolls in various colours from Pound World for… £1.
I’m vehemently anti-Christmas crafts, even more so this year as I’m super busy. But in the spirit of Christmas and an attempt to create something more unique than your average John Lewis centrepiece, I went freestyle.
I found the painted eggs at a charity shop a few months ago and had put them aside in the hope of finding a use for them ‘when I had time’. While in TK Maxx I spotted the large jar and an idea formed, so I nipped to HobbyCraft for the wooden stars and cinnamon sticks, chucked it all together (or rather, spent 20 minutes carefully arranging it) and lit a candle for good measure. Done.
And on that note, candles have been my festive spirit saviours this year – I bulk buy from TK Maxx and light a few together to mix the scents and create a lovely Christmassy glow. Minimum time and effort required.
Another quick and easy way to add festive cheer to any room is with a bunch of Christmas blooms. Ok, so tulips are hardly festive, but teamed with winter ferns they’re passable. These were 2 for £6 at Waitrose.
In our house, decorations are confined to one room. Doing up the whole house is more than my work-addled brain can handle, so everywhere else remains pretty neutral throughout the festive period.
I couldn’t resist this cute Christmas soap, though – a really simple way to bring a bit of cheer to the bathroom, and at £3.99 (again, TK Maxx) it didn’t break the bank. Display only, of course.
Have you finished your Christmas decorating? Any tips to share for those with little time or a limited budget?