Creative Christmas on a budget!
Christmas can feel like a time when money is constantly leaving your pocket; there are bills to pay, presents to buy but there is no extra money coming in.
For single parents there is often the guilt and worry that we aren't able to provide the perfect Christmas for our children. Here are a few ideas to save pennies, to have fun with the children and prepare for a creative Christmas!
- Present Tags – You don’t need to spend lots of money on the small piece of paper that tells you who the present is to or from. You can recycle old Christmas cards by using pinking shears to cut around your selected picture, then make a hole for the string to go through. Or cut out stars from cardboard and personalise with glitter glue – you could use foil, string, pipe cleaner or ribbon to then attach the tag to the present.
- Present wrapping - Brighten up budget gifts with brown parcel paper and decorate with glitter glue (red and green) and ribbon. You can use your own present tags you have made (as above) or just write their name in fancy writing in gold or silver pen!
- Christmas Decorations - Cut a lemon into thin slices and glaze with a mixture with brown sugar, cinnamon and water and bake in the oven til hard, then when they are cool, thread with gold cotton and hang on your tree! You could make gingerbread men and decorate them with red and white icing, hang them on a garland and add to your tree. Decorate cardboard candy cane shapes with glitter and felt tips and hang over door knobs. Thread chocolate coins with gold cotton and add to your tree. For more decoration ideas go to Hobbycraft to see some beautiful Christmas Craft ideas.
- Decorate your house - Gather wild Holly and Ivy and use to decorate the house for trimmings, for example, around picture frames or make a Door Wreath. Get a small log about a foot long, make a hole half way along it, insert a candle and surround it with holly with berries.
- Place names for the Christmas table - Take some hard fruit or nuts and spray them gold or silver, then attach a green leaf with some ribbon and write your names on the leaf with a gold or silver pen - very simple but very effective!
- Christmas gifts - Make some pot pourri - stud oranges with plenty of cloves and decorate with ribbon. Make chocolate truffles shaped as Christmas presents or puddings, coconut ice wrapped in silver foil with a ribbon. Create flavoured oils by adding chillies, lemons and garlic (or whatever you wish) and putting it into a fancy jar. (Please note: these need to stand for 2-3 months). Chutney and Jam - buy cheap or reuse old jars and bottles and decorate them with glass paint, ribbons and gift tags etc. Perhaps give a Christmas pud!
- Homemade Advent Calendars - Make your own. There are so many different styles that you can create; these can last a couple of years and you can fill with your own chocolates, little goodies or a Christmas message. Have a look at some ideas of creative advent calendars.
- Homemade Mulled Wine - this is generally made with red wine, oranges, brown sugar and spices. Brandy can also be added! For recipes see Wikihow.
- Christmas Dinner - If you are on a budget, make at least one special accompanying dish for your Christmas Dinner; for example, home made stuffing with ingredients such as chestnut puree, sausage meat, apples and spices.
- Christmas Guests - If you are not going anywhere on Christmas Day why not invite other single parent families over for a group Christmas dinner. There are lots of us out there all in the same boat! You can share the chores, the cost and the children can all play together.
If you are feeling stressed out just thinking about Christmas read our article Avoiding Stress at Christmas.