Christmas can be an expensive time of year, and with electricity bills continuing to soar, this year could cost households more than ever. If you’re looking to cut back, you’ll be pleased to know that there are heaps of ways you can decorate your house for free (yes, really).
From collecting natural foliage to drying fresh fruits, a little imagination can certainly go a long way. Doing our bit to save the planet is an all-year-round responsibility, but making your own sustainable goods at Christmas is a great way to put in that little extra effort — and stamp out single-use plastics.
So, on that note, put your purse away and see what you can do in the home…
1. Make your own Christmas decorations
It’s easier than you think to make your own DIY decorations. If you’re wanting to keep costs low, why not slip on your creative hat and decorate the home for free. Some of the ways include making homespun stockings from fabric scraps, creating snowflakes from old paper, and hanging butter cookies from your tree using small string.
One of the top Christmas trends for 2021, according to Magnet, is making and displaying your own gingerbread houses. “Gingerbread houses and Christmas cakes are made to be eaten – but they also are a great decorative piece to display in your kitchen. Thanks to these treats lasting over a week in most cases, they can be incorporated into your decor in the run up to Christmas,” says Lizzie Beesley, Head of Design at Magnet.
“You can go as big or as small as you wish with this decor – and you can even get the kids involved. If you do have yours on show and wish to eat it, make sure you cover it overnight to make it last longer and keep it fresh.”
You’ll have a very merry Christmas in no time.
2. Forage materials
From stunning pine cone centrepieces to dazzling door wreaths, there’s nothing that feels quite as festive as making gorgeous decor yourself. As we turn our attention to creating a more eco-friendly home this Christmas, why not swap single-use plastic for freshly foraged items instead?
Some of the things to keep an eye open for include:
- Evergreen foliage, such as ivy, holly and mistletoe
- Rosehip and berries, including hawthorn and spindle
- Twigs and branches from oak, birch and hazel
- Fir cones, pine cones, and acorns
Before you slip on your gloves and head outside, the experts at Burleigh explain: “When foraging in a public outdoor space, it’s important to do so sustainably to protect nature and the local wildlife. Don’t go overboard and try to only take what you think you will use. If you’re unsure about how much to take, this is something which you can plan and consider beforehand. And make sure not to only forage in places where there is an abundance of natural materials, so you leave plenty behind.”
3. Arrange a decoration swap with friends
We might be familiar with clothes swaps, but have you ever consider swapping Christmas decorations with friends? Instead of buying a new tablecloth, why not see if a loved one has one you can borrow for the festive season. It’s a great way to give old items a new home (or simply borrow something you love from a friend!)
4. Hang dried fruits on the Christmas tree
Traditional dried fruit decorations are the holy grail of Christmas crafts. Back in Victorian times, many households would decorate their Christmas trees with nuts, fruits, dried oranges, cinnamon sticks, sweets, homemade decorations, and even small presents, such as pieces of jewellery.
As well as making your home smell like Christmas, it’s a great way to put old fruits to good use. Take a look at how you can dry orange slices below:
1. First, slice your oranges into 1-2cm thick slices and then gently dry them with a clean tea towel.
2. Pop the orange slices on a metal cooling rack over a baking tray (this is to ensure they don’t burn or stick). Place them into an oven (120°C) for around three hours, making sure to regularly turn them over.
3. Once the time is up, set them aside to cool. Using jute string, make a small hole at the top of each slice and place through. Hang on your tree and enjoy!
5. Make a garland from pinecones
Christmas garlands set the scene at home, especially when intertwined up the staircase. To make your own — and save a pretty penny — simply collect pinecones from the garden (aim for around 15). Then, give them a good clean to rinse off any mould and mildew before letting them dry.
Next, pop them on a baking tray and bake them in the oven at 200 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Whilst they are baking, cut a long piece of twine (you could also use ribbon or string) to hang the pinecones from. Once the time is up, place them on the side to cool down overnight.
Now the fun part! If you have any leftover paint pots lying around, you can give yours a splash of colour. If you want to leave them as they are, simply tie a six inch piece of string in between and around the bottom of your pinecones to keep them secure. Place on your mantlepiece or hang from a pretty shelf.
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