Cash strapped, time poor and all out of ideas? Read this.
Hands up if you routinely leave your Christmas prep to the absolute final second, and struggle to stay on budget every year.
Okay, that was a trick question. Because, let’s face it, no one has time to crack out a Martha Stewart worthy Christmas feast and adorn their tree with color-coordinated ornaments on December 1, no matter how easy the McCallister family made it look in Home Alone. We’re too busy trying to juggle our careers, relationships and families. And we don’t have seemingly endless stashes of cash.
Most of us are lucky if we’ve even got the tree up at all by December 20 and managed to plonk a store-bought pudding in the fridge. And who has the time or the funds to shop for the perfect present for every family member and friend you’re obligated to give something to? Please.
Thankfully, the interwebs have come to the rescue again, offering ingenious hacks for breezing through the festive season without ever breaking a sweat – or your bank balance. So if you’re like us and are currently scrambling to work out how on earth you’re going to do it all in time and budget again this year – take heart, and read on…
1. Load your Christmas cookie icing into sauce bottles for quick and easy dispensing.
2. Add pretzel sticks to triangles of pita bread topped with guacamole and pomegranate for cheap and easy festive party snacks.
3. Paint old aluminium foil boxes to repurpose as perfectly sized gift boxes for home-baked cookies.
4. Freeze whipped cream on a baking tray then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to create festive hot chocolate toppers.
5. Stack two candy canes and a few chocolate bars and tie up with Christmas ribbon for a cheap last-minute ‘candy sleigh’ gift.
6. Drop a few candy canes into the blender and pulse for a few seconds to make a quick and easy sweet Christmas topper to add to cookies, cocktails and desserts.
7. Cut strawberries in half, add in whipped cream, stick back together and topped with a tiny additional dollop of whipped cream to make tiny edible santas.
8. Use a hot glue gun to stick three mini candy canes together to make place card holders.
9. Stack red and white Play-doh in mason jars to make candy cane themed gifts for kids.
10. Fill random vases and glass vessels with baubles for cheap and unique centerpieces.
11. Slot cardboard triangles covered in gift wrap together to form minimalist-style festive decor.
12. Make old cheap lights look new and expensive by removing the bulbs and giving them a coat of metallic spray paint.
13. Repurpose old paint chips as gift tags by cutting them into festive shapes.
14. If you’re a renter and can’t put a nail in your front door, simply attach a 3M hook at the top of the back of the door and use a colorful ribbon to hang your wreath from it.
15. Old Pringles containers also make the perfect vessel for gifting home-baked cookies.
16. Wrap tomato cages in fairy lights for cheap DIY Christmas decor.
17. Jazz up Christmas drinks by adding cranberries to your ice cube trays.
18. Turn gingerbread cookies into cute tree ornaments that will last for years by coating with three layers of varnish.
19. Stop your rolls of wrapping paper from getting unruly in the cupboard by securing with toilet rolls. Simply cut a slit in a toilet roll to form a DIY gift wrap clamp.
20. Make cheap and easy adult gifts by adding hot chocolate powder and marshmallows to mason jars, and attaching a mini bottle of Baileys with a cute ribbon.
21. Running late for your family Christmas lunch and low on funds and ingredients? Simply arrange broccoli and cherry tomatoes into a triangle and top with yellow capsicum slices to make a festive dip platter. Add Pretzel sticks for a trunk and serve with store-bought hummus or sour cream.
22. Make a quick and easy gift for a kitchen whiz by filling an oven mitt with cooking accessories and securing with a festive ribbon.
23. Keep all your gift ribbon in one place and stop it from getting tangled up in the process by repurposing a paper towel holder as a ribbon dispenser.
24. Create stylish Christmas decor by framing dollar store gift bags.
25. Spray paint a broken umbrella frame, twist fairy lights around the arms, and suspend for a cheap, stunning lighting fixture.
26. Add a fun, unexpected touch to gifts by swapping out traditional bows for candy packets; or for an eco-friendly alternative, tie twine around brown paper wrapping and attach small tree leaves or twigs.
27. Stuff a pair of slippers with nail polish, chocolates and bath bombs or body wash and secure with a Christmas ribbon for a super cheap and easy last-minute gift for a woman.
28. Use a hot glue gun to attach candy canes together to make a wreath or decorative garland.
29. Turn otherwise boring gifts into fun, personalized presents by printing out your own humorous labels (free ones here).
30. Make plain cupcakes look festive in an instant by drawing thin circles over white frosting in chocolate frosting, then sticking M&Ms into the circles to create the look of tree lights.
31. Don’t have a tree this year? String baubles or fairy lights from the inside of an open ladder and top with a star for an inventive industrial-chic tree alternative.
32. Soak labels off old wine bottles, paint with craft glue, roll in glitter then stuff with fairy lights for cheap, pretty lighting decor.
33. For a fun and easy Christmas morning breakfast, use whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate frosting to create a simple santa face on a pancake.
34. And keep the kids entertained during Christmas lunch by making a tablecloth from butcher’s paper that they can draw on.
Images via shutterstock.com and pinterest.com.
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