The Christmas CDs are working overtime, with festive music pumping in almost every shop around the country. Stores are beautifully decorated… oh yes, it's that time of year again when most of us go a little crazy and attempt to make our homes as Christmassy as possible without breaking the bank. The good news is that it is fairly easy to create the right look without having to fork out thousands in the process. We've scoured the web and sourced a number of cost-saving ideas that will have you singing over your eggnog.
Don't toss away left over wrapping paper. Use it to cover everything from books on your bookshelves (this looks really nifty) to your pot plant holders. Dress up your kitchen cupboards by taping wrapping paper over the glass panels. It also comes in very handy for lining trays on which you plan to serve snacks and for using as gift labels.
Pile any excess baubles in a bowl and use this as a centrepiece on your table.
Don’t despair if you can't afford a Christmas tree, simply decorate your pot plants with tinsel and baubles or get a stick from the garden and work your magic.
Tie ribbons around empty wine bottles and use them as candle holders.
Make your own tree decorations using salt dough. Ingredients: one cup of salt, two cups plain flour, around ¾ cup of water, a few drops of food colourant. Method: mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add enough water to make a firm dough and enough food colouring to get the desired colour. Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead. Roll to about 2 1/2 centimetres thick and cut into ornamental shapes using cookie cutters. Make holes at the top of each shape (don't make these too small because you want to be able to thread ribbon or string through easily) and bake in the oven for approximately 1-3 hours or until the shapes are dry.
Make a display with oranges studded with cloves. This not only looks great, but it also smells just like Christmas.
Christmas lights are inexpensive and weren’t only designed to wrap around a Christmas tree. Use your imagination and find innovative ways to Christmas up your home. Drape them over pelmets or twirl them around your table lamps, anything goes.
Instead of using a table cloth, cover your dining room table with brown paper and ask the children to draw Christmassy pictures. They’ll have a ball and you’ll be left with a memorable tablecloth.
Tea lights and other types of candles always create the right atmosphere. Dot them around your lounge using traditional candle holders or place them in prettily decorated glass jars (use glue and glitter). Remember to always be aware of the risk of fire - make sure they won’t topple over and don’t place them too close to flammable materials.
Buy some gold, red and green ribbon and use this to decorate cushions, lamps and well, just about anything else you can think of.
Fruit, nuts and sweeties are always a hit with both family and friends at this time of the year. Display in festive paper bowls or on decorative plates for added effect.