By Laura Shannon


Hosting Christmas on a Budget

CHRISTMAS hosts – pay heed! The festive season creeps up faster than we expect. It’s nearly time to deck your halls as friends and family will soon turn up and need feeding and watering.

With any big event planning ahead is key to saving time and money, so read on for the top tips for hosting Christmas on a budget.

Dinner discounts

A Christmas feast is undoubtedly the main event on the day itself. But it has become tradition to over-do portion sizes too.

  • Be realistic about how much you think everyone will consume to avoid overspending and overeating. Musclefood offers good value hampers for meat and shows how many portion sizes are in each.
  • When it comes to buying the bird – a frozen turkey crown is likely to prove best value - especially if you are not planning on making multiple meals from it. Aldi, Iceland and Farmfoods will have offers worth checking.
  • If you’re hosting someone who needs impressing, try online butcher Donald Russell. It supplies Michelin starred restaurants as well as delivering to your door. There’s free delivery over £50 and 10 per cent off your first order if you sign up to the company newsletter.
  • If your guests are open-minded people, consider switching turkey for a different meat – or try festive fish instead.

Christmas roast dinner

Before you commit to buying remember to search Savoo’s discount codes. All major supermarkets are listed and most offer new customer discount codes - consider whether it’s worth switching loyalty to save money. Plus, every deal you use at Savoo doubles as a charitable donation. In the lead up to Christmas it will be giving 10 per cent of its revenue to a different charity each week.

Boozy Bonus

Keeping your guests merry with a drink or two can turn out to be rather expensive. Not to worry, here’s a few tips to keep your Christmas alcohol costs down:
  • Bulk buy the booze and it often comes with free delivery, sometimes a free gift too. Laithwaites and Naked Wines are ideal for this, with cracking initial offers on boxes of quality wines. If the order involves subscribing to a plan, remember to cancel soon after if you don’t want repeat deliveries.
  • Don’t forget supermarkets! They can be an amazing way to stock up on booze for less - especially with deals like the 25% off 6 bottles of wine that Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Asda tend to offer. Watch out for them they are generally around for a couple of weeks every few months.
  • Online craft beer shops like Beerwulf and Beer Hawk suit guests who prefer hops over grapes. You will find gift ideas and low or no alcohol options, and new subscription offers.
Festive drinks

Christmas pudding

Snack-sized Savings

For the rolling feast that is Christmas you need an endless supply of snacks. It keeps tummies from rumbling and tempers from flaring.

  • Hosting Christmas is work enough, so few will judge you for relying on the freezer sections of Iceland, Aldi and Lidl for nibbles, desserts and party foods like vol-au-vents, sausage rolls and pizzas.
  • Frozen party foods are a great way to impress without the effort or waste of going to the trouble of rustling something up from scratch. Plus, it’s often much cheaper.
  • Last minute dashes to the supermarket for crisps, dips and canapes is a good time to use up spare Nectar points at Sainsbury’s or Clubcard points at Tesco. It all helps to keep costs in check.

Setting the Mood

Soft lighting and woody scents can add to the ambience of your Christmas party. Here’s how to get the look and feel of the festive season, for less:

  • Try inexpensive scented tealights, and amplify their glow with simple lanterns – easily found at the likes of Poundland and B&M.
  • Aldi’s dupe of the Jo Malone best-selling Lime, Basil and Mandarin candle is a super-saver. The supermarket version retails at nearly 94 per cent less than the high-end brand.
  • Head to The Works and Hobbycraft for cheap and cheery extras, from a clutch of red berries to Burgundy Nanal grass.
  • Start collecting pine cones on any woodland walks you take between now and Christmas too – they’re natural, free and can complement your table decorations. Holly and Ivy also make great decorations.

It's a Wrap!

For ideas on what to actually wrap, check out my article on 10 Top tips for smart Christmas gift shopping on Black Friday 2022. Once that’s all sorted you need to think about presentation. Thinking thrifty about gift wrapping can actually be a great way to make Christmas savings:

  • Before grabbing a roll of gift wrap at the shops, audit your existing leftovers at home. Dig out gift bags and tissue paper you’ve been given throughout the year and re-use where possible. Ordinary brown paper from home or even non-Christmassy birthday wrapping paper can be decorated easily with ribbon and glitter.
  • Did you throw out all of last years’ Christmas cards? If not use them to make home-made gift-tags.
  • If presents are for down-to-earth recipients, use free newspapers for wrapping and decorate with colourful string or twine.
  • Don’t forget the final, essential money-saving tip for Christmas: when it’s all over, buy next year’s wrapping and decorations. Price cuts on rolls are huge at the end of the season as shops try to ditch leftover stock. So, snap up the offers and store ready for next year.

Affordable Christmas gift wrap