Learn How To create a Homely Christmas on a small Budget. Through Homemade floral arrangements, DIY decor and a little imagination, here is how I save the pennies each year.
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Do you swoon over all those Glossy Christmas Magazines or fall down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest, admiring all those picture perfect Christmas trees and gorgeous floral displays, while simultaneously shuddering at the thought of what each decadent arrangement must have cost? Yep, me too!
So what do we see? We see beautiful manor houses with 400 year old fireplaces adorned with fresh foliage and ripe red berries. Tables with glowing dinner candles, exquisite China, Crisp white Egyptian cotton Napkins and elegant fresh flower arrangements? Glinting Crystal champagne flutes with golden Champagne bubbles fizzing elegantly beside a worn and comfortable fireside chair. And the clincher! The Adorable, groomed to perfection Pooch warming himself by the fire.
These are the images that lure us, that directly influence us, and some of us will inevitably splash out the little disposable income we have for that ‘dream’ to provide that magical atmosphere for our families at Christmas time. We want to impress, we want to see the look on our kiddies faces as they stare in delight at the dreamy Christmas, Mummy and Daddy have provided for them…there is no shame in that, we all want that, we all at some point, have done that!
Its only in January that you stop to take stock of the money you spent and ponder if it was all worth it, did you really need to spend that much on Christmas decor? Your immediate response will probably be NO! And you will likely make a promise to yourself that next year, you will exercise a little more restraint. Skip forward a year… did that promise hold? Did you spend less the following year? Probably not! Because again, we see the Glossy magazines, tumble down the Pinterest hole and get relentlessly bombarded from every angle with glitter and magic in the form of adverts, social media and those amazing Shop window displays.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to re-create that Chocolate box Christmas look, I myself am influenced every year by Christmas trends, but instead of going out and buying it, I find a way to try and make it my own way, with budget makes and cheaper alternatives…
Lets Break It down!
What are the elements of a magical Christmas, I refer to my description of the Manor House above.
- Manor House– Nope, don’t have one of those- Will a Victorian Terraced house do? Of Course!
- 400 Year Old Fireplace– Unfortunately Not! I can offer a 20 year old one? That will do!
- Adorable Groomed to perfection Pooch– Ok, I have half of this! Adorable? -Yes, absolutely Adorable! Groomed to perfection ?- He does love a good brushing, but perfection? Not really!
- Crystal Champagne flutes? – Yes I do have these, but I don’t use them, they would last five minutes with my Children running about! I can offer 6 very fine Supermarket brand ones? Perfect!
- Exquisite China – Nope! But I have 6 vintage Denby Bukara Dinner plates (bought off ebay for the bargain price of £20)
- Table? -Got one!
- Egyptian Cotton Napkins– Ah No! -But, I have some linen look ones off Shein (6 for £4.00) Will that work?
- Worn and Comfortable Fireplace Chair- I have Chairs!
- Champagne– I can offer Nozeco?
- Fresh Foliage/ Fresh Flowers– Yes and Yes! I have FREE Foraged Foliage and the flowers- I assume the Flowers in the manor house were not half off from Aldi and Tesco’s, but flowers are flowers right?
Now were cooking! It seems I have all the elements required to create a magical Homely Manor House Christmas, the fact I don’t have a Manor House is just a technicality!
The Christmas Pup
Lets start with the adorable Pooch, this is as Groomed as my Reggie gets! He’s a rough and tumble kind of dog, yet he very kindly allowed me to ‘decorate’ him for the purpose of this one Christmas Picture….
I was actually amazed how well behaved he was! He made his mama very proud! The Reindeer headband (Shein £1, used to belong to my daughter) stayed on for a full 10 minutes!
Lets Move on to the Bubbles! I don’t drink Alcohol, but I still like a little fizz at Christmas Time. So while my Image of a magical Christmas may not include ‘Golden Champagne Bubbles’ they do Include Delicious Pink Rose Nozeco ones! Every year I Buy a Case of 6 for £16.20 (works out at £2.60 per Bottle!) You would be hard pushed to find a bottle of Champagne for that price! Plus-No hangover! For Me, a Merry Christmas means no headaches! The Champagne flutes are a couple of years old, Originally bought from Asda.
Lets move on to the Exquisite China and Egyptian Cotton Napkins. Exquisite is in the eye of the beholder, to me these Vintage Denby Bukara plates( Ebay Bargain, 6 for £20!) are exquisite and certainly unique, more impressive, is the fact the previous owner managed to keep them Chip free and pristine for over 50 years! I hope to continue that practice for the next 50!
Egyptian Cotton Napkins? Not in this house, the damage my kids could do to them would be painful! And, I really don’t have the time or energy to launder and remove inevitable stains from expensive spun cotton! So I opt for darker fabric, plain cotton Napkins, that can disguise a stain or two (Try Shein for inexpensive napkins in all colours)
That brings me nicely to the table and the overall look I wanted to achieve this year. I wanted Rustic Charm with Jewel tones, candlelight and a central Floral arrangement- a warm and welcoming table that I could sit at with my family over a homemade Christmas Dinner.
We have Covered the plates, the Napkins and the Champagne, but what about everything else? Lets start with the Rustic element. I like to go that extra mile at Christmas and a bare table is the first to be tackled. A rustic tablecloth? What fabric is Rustic, Low Cost and Reusable? Hessian– Hessian fabric is wonderful stuff! I have it in My Green House as shading, in my kitchen as an undercounter Curtain, I love it! It just works! A friend of the Budget conscious decorator! I bought a 5m long 40 inch wide roll for £11 off Ebay, enough for 2 tablecloths for my 8 seater dining table! I simply hemmed the edges with wonder web and tada! A rustic table cloth!
I used Deep Red Rose Petals as Table Confetti. Roses? Not particularly budget friendly you say? Well, that depends on when you buy them. I bought the roses below when they were almost spent, I waited until Christmas eve when I knew all the left over roses would have wilted, and bought them then. A DOZEN red roses for £2 from Tesco’s. I simply pulled the petals away and scattered them on the table, that high end look for a low end price.
Christmas Candle Floral Arrangement
Using Foraged Foliage, Supermarket flowers, Florist Bricks and simple dinner candles I created a beautiful Christmas Candle Arrangement, that took less than 30 minutes to construct. I used Holly and Laurel as filler foliage and fresh flowers to give it that something Extra! (see video below)
This arrangement is not particular difficult. Simply push the Dinner Candles into the foam and arrange the foliage around them, pushing in and layering until you have a full floral display
What you’ll need
- 3 Foam Bricks
- 3 Foam Brick Trays
- 6 Dinner Candles
- Foliage and Fresh Flowers
The Fireplace. Alas I cannot Compete with an ornate Antique fireplace! But I can elevate my rather basic looking one with a few tweaks! I love a freshly decorated fireplace, with lush foliage and dried fruits…but I do not love the cost associated with achieving it. Have you seen the prices of fresh Foliage for wreaths and garlands at Christmas time? Yikes! So…I go Foraging!
How to make a Fresh Foliage Christmas Fireplace Garland
With Foraged Foliage including Ivy Branches, Laurel and Dried Oranges I created this beautifully rustic and Homely Christmas Fireplace. The cost to me was..
- Foliage =Free
- 2 Oranges = 24p
- Baubles= Old decorations/ Free
There is very little skill required to achieve this look, simply push pre cut foliage into the soaked floristry foam, layering the foliage as you go. Tie on Dried Oranges and Baubles with string or Floristry wire. Have fun with it! There is no wrong way to do it.
More Budget Friendly Homemade Christmas Decoration Ideas
A little reminder of some foraging etiquette!
There are some rules you should abide by if you intend to forage for food, or for foliage.
Only take what you need-Take no more than you plan to consume or use, and try to forage over a wide area rather than picking from one patch. Make sure you’re foraging doesn’t disturb the habitats and environments of the local wildlife.
Leave No trace– Leaving no trace of your presence is a sign you have foraged responsibly. Do not trample or disturb roots and only take when there is an abundance of your chosen food or foliage. This allows the plants to replenish and renew.
Don’t Pick from Private land – If you intend to, be sure to get permission first.
Only Pick from Clean areas – Avoid Roadsides, Industrial areas & Top tip* Foraging from the base of a tree for example would not be wise, the likeliness of a dog previously cocking its leg there…is high! If you intend to consume what you have foraged, wash first.