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6 ways to celebrate for less

By Anna-Louise Dearden 29/10/2015

The cost of feeding and entertaining people at Christmas can soon add up. Lifestyle writer and Huffington Post blogger Anna-Louise Dearden gives us her creative tips for quick, easy ways to save money and still have a great time.

1 Waste not, want not

There are two main reasons we throw away good food. Firstly, we cook or prepare too much, and secondly, we don't use it up in time. The result? It all ends up at the bottom of the bin… Christmas, in particular, is a time when we prepare too much grub – so this year avoid wasted food and money by using this nifty food calculator:

Just pop in how long your party is going to last and it'll tell you how many nibbles you’ll need to provide for each person. You'll get your party portions exactly right and there won’t be a leftover sausage in sight. Lovely.

2 Bring a bottle (or a drumstick)

If you're having a large family Christmas – or even if there are just a few of you – share the cost and effort by asking everyone to bring something on the day. Tell them whether they’re contributing to the apéritif, starter, pud or nibbles. Then, instead of running around like the proverbial blue-bottomed fly, just pour yourself a large glass of sherry and watch the feast roll in.

3 Make your own celebrity Christmas decorations

Have some fun by adding any of the many pop-culture icons to your baubles. All you need is an ornament, a printer, paper, glue, scissors and string. Choose your celeb icon, search the web for an image and follow these simple steps: i. Print the image to about 10cm
ii. Cut the image out
iii. Hang the ornament with string
iv. Glue Taylor Swift/Kim K/Paul Hollywood to the string

4 Fun festive food for kids that won’t break the bank

If you’ve got the whole family over for Christmas Eve drinks, try these cute mini strawberry-and-mascarpone Santas will provide Christmas fun for the little ones. You'll need strawberries, some mascarpone cheese and chocolate sprinkles. Slice the top off the strawberries, pop in some mascarpone to make a head, use the sprinkles for eyes and a blob of cheese for a hat. Instant mini Santas!

5 Create your own Christmas tree

No space, no time, no tree? Then make a fairy-light wall decoration. Take a set of fairy lights, arrange them in a tree shape on the floor, tape together and use more tape or hooks to hang up your tree of light.

6 Cushion the cost

Home interiors stylist Lisa Pocklington suggests using last year's dodgy festive jumpers as cushion covers! Chop off the arms and sew up all the openings, then show Auntie Maude your multipurpose use of last year’s gift. Even better, share the sweater love and give the finished cushion as a pressie.

You can find more of Anna-Louise’s musings @annalouise6.

For more savvy ways to save money this Christmas, check out our great feature on creative (and cheap!) present ideas:

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