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Thrifty christmas

(117 Posts)
Elainey1609 Tue 06-Aug-13 12:25:54

Hi ya everyone

I am sure I'm in the same boat as many other people this year we no money. blush
I know I am starting to panic already about Christmas
I like many have been glued to the bargain christmas thread and have bought some small bits already but I can't seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel

I have already told many family members that I won't be able to afford buying them Xmas presents this yearned am checking boot sales, free cycle and nearly new sites

The whole thing is just very depressing sad

So i wanted to start this thread to get people's ideas ideas or tips so we can all help each other to the best of our ability as I know I'm not the only one in this situation

A problem shared is a problem halved and all thatgrin

Last year people gave links where free Xmas decorations and samples that can be used as presents were being given away free.
Links to christmas sites with free downloadable things

Just share anything that is free or very low buget that can be used over the Xmas

Hope this helps

raisah Sun 08-Sep-13 16:06:17

Instead of buying individual presents for siblings & nieces/nephews consider family gifts of food or chocs. I have got 4 large boxes of M&S Swiss chocs for £4 each, they are on special offer and they are usually £8 each. Keep an eye out for similar offers on tins of biscuits. I make up food hampers as they cqn be used through the year, especially in these tight economic times people appreciate baskets of food treats.

Elainey1609 Sun 08-Sep-13 13:10:57

ELR that's ok
just glad it helps someone

ELR Fri 06-Sep-13 19:11:56

Thanks elainy just got the app.

Elainey1609 Fri 06-Sep-13 15:58:16

Wooo finally found an app that is completely free and is password locked
don't no if is available for android but is in the app store
NoMoreSocks .....its pretty basic but works in the sense that helps me manage ideas what I've bought already and what I need to get
Hope it helps some people

Ive been avidly watching the pinterest thread on here and started following some of peoples xmas boards, some have great home made decoration ideas and Christmas fun ideas for a bargain ... love looking

Valium I agree with you about the stocking things £30 is silly, so I think its how people interoperate stockings as a whole
Im similar to your quite traditional
they get a satusma, chocolate coins, candy cane, pair of socks, and a little something like toy from pound land.

ELR I have a £2 pound money box goes towards buying xmas , I start it 1st of January as I always get a new money box for xmas (normally one of those tin ones with no opening)

I bought jelly packets, tin fruit, tealights and some batteries all for xmas stock at the weekend

found another ebay bargain of pick up xmas decorations
This one included a star shape window rope light which is all working great.

Bought xmas cards from card factory today getting in spirit lol

3birthdaybunnies Fri 06-Sep-13 12:55:12

For decorating you can make your own icicles. It takes a little practice and definitely a grown up craft. Get an empty plastic water or squash(clear)/ milk(frosted icicle) bottle, candle, scisors and a well ventilated space in case of fumes. Cut the water bottle into long thin triangles a little longer than the intended icicles. I found for a 500ml bottle height triangles about 2cm at one end to a point at the other were great. Once you have a whole lot take one triangle and heat it gently over the candle, pulling and twising as you heat it along the length of the triangle. The first few probably won't look so good but with some practice will soon be easy. You can then string them together using a needle. Google the idea for a more detailed tutorial.

BiddyPop Fri 06-Sep-13 12:22:35

ELR - another handy thing to do with the £2 coins would be to get SM stamps (maybe not with all of them) and fill a savings card. The ones here take €98 in stamps for €100 spend (last stamp is free if card is full, but can spend a partially filled card too). And I tend to do that rather than buying loads of stores over the autumn - because there are often lots of 50% extra free packs or BOGOFs etc just at Christmas time - so I'll have a couple of cards saved up to do a couple of massive stores shops with my free stamp but also the bonus packs/offers as well. So it actually saves me more in the long run.

ELR Fri 06-Sep-13 11:46:27

Not sure if this will help but I have a money box which is for £2 coins. If me or DH get a £2 coin in change we put it in the money box, we don't really miss it and its great for a Christmas themed day out or some of the Christmas food shop or one of the bigger Christmas presents. Sometimes I dip into it if the ice cream man comes past but generally gets used for something bigger.

BiddyPop Fri 06-Sep-13 09:26:31

And I hit post, and remembered:

Candles (regular and nightlights), matches, firelighters, any essential oils you like to have.

And apart from regular bathroom items, a nice relaxing bath bubbles or shower gel for yourself, and a good hair conditioning treatment.

And don't forget first aid kit - plasters, antiseptic wipes, pain killers, hangover and indigestion remedies etc. To suit adults and children.

BiddyPop Fri 06-Sep-13 09:24:16

Firstly, stock up with a large cardboard box that others cannot see into and put it where the rest of the family won't raid it. I get a few extra things every week - but look out for special offers on the overall list too (usually get a lot of things over the next 16 weeks or so) so it will cost less too.

Back to school specials could be good for "lunch box essentials" like crisps, popcorn, mini-chocolate bars, multipacks of fizzy drink cans, etc. And perhaps other store cupboard items. There will also probably be special offers on sweets, choc coming up to Halloween.

Think about what your family likes to eat and use over the whole Christmas season - both festive treats and regular things you use more of because everyone is at home all day or because you host loads of guests. I don't buy everything I mention below, it's to get you thinking about options.

Food wise - do you like leftovers as curries or pasta dishes? So get a few extra bags of rice (do you prefer basmati rather than easicook at this time of year?) or pasta (IKEA do Reindeer shapes that can be fun!). Extra ingredients for these too - tins of tomatoes, coconut milk, dried herbs, spices blends, or jars of particular sauces that your family likes. And other stores items to whip up lunches or quick meals - tins of tuna fish, sweetcorn, sardines, salmon, Chinese bamboo shoots or water chestnuts; bottle of passatta, Chinese/Indian/Italian/Thai sauces, pack of fajita mix, salsa and some wraps, couscous, risotto rice. Condiments such as olive oil, vinegar, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, stock cubes, corn flour (I use for white sauces)....

Do you bake? So an extra bag of flour, packet of sugar (different types like brown, castor, icing etc), dried or glace fruit (raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel, cherries etc), chocolate chips, other ingredients you'd use (including decorative things). Also snacks like rice cakes, dried fruit (mango, apple, etc), pots of fruit purees, etc that you or the family might eat.

Deserts: Packets of jelly, (angel delight?!), custard powder or tetra packs of ready made custard, pack of pudding rice, tins of fruit. Do you keep a can of squirty cream? Do you like special marmalade Christmas morning, do the DCs get nutella as a seasonal treat or does MIL like a certain jam on her toast? Also porridge oats (for brekkie or baking) or other cereals.

Hot drinks - tea (regular and any special ones like chamomile, green, fruit ones etc), coffee (ground, instant, decaf, pods for a machine, and filters if you have that kind of machine), hot chocolate or cocoa, Bovril, etc.

I don't tend to buy boxes of sweets or tins of biscuits - I buy a selection of nice packets of biscuits so I can put out a selection on a plate but only open as many packs as we'll likely get through (to avoid them either going soft or me eating all the leftovers). I do the same with crackers for cheese - a few nice different packs rather than the box of mixed ones (with only 3-4 of each type!) as we eat cheese a lot over the holidays. I also tend to get things like a couple of packs of microwave popcorn for afternoon movies or snacks, sharing packs or multipacks of crisps, nuts etc. I also get a packet of amaretti biscuits as my treat to me.

You can stock up on drinks too - large bottles of fizzy drinks or squashes, mixers etc. And alcohol - spirits, nice wines, a bottle of fizz for a special occasion, box of beer etc. I would tend to get these when they are on special offer though.

Don't forget to stock up on cleaning things, especially when they are on special offer. Especially ones that are easy - so I tend to have a couple of packs of wipes for counters, floor etc that I wouldn't necessarily use the rest of the year. But also get stocked up on your regular items. Dishwasher powder, salt and rinse aid (and you may as well get a dishwasher cleaner too for the week before to make it sparkle!). Washup liquid, soap, bleach, bin bags. Toilet rolls and kitchen towels. Greaseproof paper, tin foil, cling film, bun cases. I sometimes buy a pack of tin foil pie plates and portion packs - so that I can make an apple tart to freeze when I have spare time over the autumn, or an extra portion of a family meal to bring out when time is short or be able to freeze a meal-sized amount of leftover turkey. Serviettes, paper or plastic plates and glasses if you use them for parties.

These are all long term storage items - from early December you can start to get things with shorter shelf lives, like long life croissants and pain au chocolats, part baked breads, tins of ready rol croissants for the fridge, pizza bases, bag of grated cheese, pack of sliced cured meats (pepperoni, parma ham, salami, etc). And of course, if you have freezer space, things like veg, ice cream, emergency pizza/wedges/oven chips/chicken goujons/fish fingers etc., and your own stores like rolls of cookie dough (although you can now buy that too), HM mince pies, stuffing you've made ahead of time, or even just the breadcrumbs you make a week you have a couple of leftover slices of bread.

Sorry this is so long - it's meant to trigger ideas.

cheekycherryza Thu 05-Sep-13 16:37:24

What kind of Christmas food stuffs do you buy early that can be stocked up on?

I usually get my Christmas/boxing day meats on Special at the end of September (roast lamb etc) or buy a frozen turkey when I see them out.

But what else would you recommend stocking up on?

shrinkingnora Tue 03-Sep-13 16:46:33

Don't know if anyone has mentioned threading popcorn for tree decorations but it looks amazing! My friend did it with her kids last year and they told me all about it before they even mentioned what they got. We'll be doing that this year.

Clarencestar Tue 03-Sep-13 16:30:19

For those who wanted an App with a password protection. I use a free (Android) app called 'APP LOCK' it lets you lock individual apps and other parts of your phone. For instance, I can lock my photo gallery and contacts so it requires a password. Therefore you can download a free basic note pad app for you Christmas list but lock it with APP LOCK.

NumTumDeDum Tue 03-Sep-13 13:24:44

Couple of home made present ideas:

Air drying clay - knead it in a bowl and add wild flower seeds. Portion into walnut sized balls and allow to dry. Actually this is good for dc to do. Then once dry pop them in a bag - I make little ones out of hessian as it's about £2.40 a meter and tie with raffia/ribbon and add a card label. Wild flower bombs. The idea is to crumble it in a patch in the garden to create a wild flower patch.

For family, a photo album with pictures for as many previous christmasses as you can lay your hands on. Or an album with as many pictures as you have of that person. It's often a revelation when you see pictures that other people have taken. Bit of a This is Your Life type thing.

ValiumQueen Tue 03-Sep-13 12:56:13

I have seen them in Past Times, you can also buy them, or moulds to make them, on eBay. They are quite pricy.

BiddyPop Tue 03-Sep-13 09:33:38

ValiumQueen, can you still get sugar mice anywhere? We've never had them, but they're something I have always dreamed of getting.

ValiumQueen Tue 03-Sep-13 06:45:41

Jamtoast that makes sense, thank you smile I tend to think of a stocking as containing a clementine, sugar mouse etc. but I am old grin

BiddyPop Mon 02-Sep-13 17:09:52

I have used cardboard boxes wrapped in nice paper, nice cardboard boxes from IKEA or similar, I mentioned upthread that I got a nice basket in a charity shop for nothing last week (I bought 5 things that I know cost €1 each, and had a little ceramic dish and the basket as well - but she only charged me €5 for the lot).

If you are doing a hamper that includes a container of some kind, use that. I have used plastic baking bowls for baking hampers, a large plastic serving bowl (cheap end of summer sales) to put the things for a family night in - included a bag of popping corn so the bowl could be used for that once made. A nice cheese board with preserves and a cheese knife on it. A nice "dressing table" basket filled with toiletries.

I have saved a nice thick cardboard box that an expensive shirt of DH's came in.

A nice good paper plate (if you are doing different baked goods) or festive plastic plate. Even a plain white plate (charity shop maybe) with a nice festive napkin on it looks great.

SarahAndFuck Mon 02-Sep-13 00:36:00

OP if you want to do things to make memories, we always go out for a Christmas day walk after dinner. It helps that we live opposite woodland but if you have a nice park or even a walk around the streets to look at other people's lights it's nice to get out. And we meet people doing the same thing and everyone is friendly.

Our Children's Centre does a party with Father Christmas and you take your own photo if you like. It costs £1.50 for a ticket and they ask you to donate something to the party food, so much cheaper than a shopping centre Father Christmas visit and photo.

We have a blackboard to count down the days and DS loves writing the new date on it. Last year I stuck some bits of card together and he painted a big Christmas tree on it and used stickers from pound land to decorate it. It looked really good and he enjoyed painting it and sticking the stickers on. I've saved it to put up again this year.

We have a wooden advent calendar which cost £20 to buy but now it's just a bag of chocolate shapes from pound land, plus I save little cracker jokes and novelties from the year before to put in the drawers. It's cheaper now than paying £3 or so for one from the supermarket each year.

We paint pine cones with glitter as decorations or and DS likes making paper chains.

I got a beautiful glass bowl from a car boot sale, red and gold with little baubles painted on it, that I put out at the beginning of December before the rest of the decorations go up.

One of my friends uses wrapping paper she bought in the January sales to wrap up the pictures on her walls to look like presents. She puts a bit of ribbon around them and they do make quite effective Christmas decorations.

I bought some of this wrapping paper in a sale for £1.50 and put it in the picture frames like a poster. Through the year I just keep it behind the normal picture so it's stored safely.

SarahAndFuck Mon 02-Sep-13 00:13:45

Patilla I gave DS's teachers a 'hamper' of drinks and snacks for their kitchen a couple of weeks before the holidays started and I put it all in one of those big hessian shopper bags, so they could have something reusable afterwards which hadn't cost a fortune.

You can get some really nice ones and it was easier to carry into school as well as useful afterwards.

SarahAndFuck Mon 02-Sep-13 00:08:07

I found a really nice ceramic jar in a charity shop one year. It cost me a pound and I washed it out and baked biscuits to put in it and gave it to my friend.

It was a Boots one (still had the label on the bottom) and had had biscuits in it originally so the seal was good for keeping them fresh.

It was the exact same colour as some new kitchen things she had just bought, so she was over the moon with it. She still has it now (but the biscuits are long gone).

iloveholidays Sun 01-Sep-13 21:24:52

Patilla, last year I just bought Christmas gift bags which I put the hamper bits in. The Elves left them on their bed whilst they were busy downstairs smile

jamtoast12 Sun 01-Sep-13 21:07:39


From reading lots of these threads, I think some peoples interpretation of stockings differ - some think they are everything other than the main gift so obviously there's sound more. For us we have the main, their extra presents and then the stocking which lets face it, can only fit a certain amount in! We just put sweets, pencils, nail polish etc. some people's "stockings" wouldn't fit into a sack so I think they just describe them as stocking fillers!

ValiumQueen Sun 01-Sep-13 20:55:03

Patilla I have been known to cover a regular cardboard box with Christmas paper and fill with shredded tissue paper, a few bows or paper flowers, cellophane etc. It leaves more pennies for nice things inside. I also got some lovely baskets from Morrisons of all places a few years back. They were about £4 and so lovely I kept them myself.

Patilla Sun 01-Sep-13 15:16:08

How do people package up "hampers"?

Suitable baskets always seem to cost more money than I save.

ValiumQueen Sun 01-Sep-13 14:17:16

I am avidly watching the Christmas bargain thread, and one of the posters has said they spent £30 on £70 worth of gifts, and said it will make a decent stocking. That is more than my budget for my kids entire Christmas gifts. Perhaps I am better off lurking here blush

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