It’s the same every year, isn’t it? You make a Resolution that this year you’ll be properly prepared for Christmas. But it never seems to happen and you always seem to spend more than you wanted to. Well, don’t panic, it can be done and on the tastefully cheap side.

Christmas Cheer

Time to ditch the old and bring in the new – decorations that is. Christmas is about light, so fairy lights are order of the day. But not just strung round a Christmas tree. No, you want to give your guests the ‘Wow!’ factor. A glass bowl filled with a string of battery powered flashing white fairy lights gives a warm feeling to a windowsill or alcove or shelf. If you can’t find natural greenery (ivy, holly, evergreen branches etc.) there’s some great items to be found at places like Inspirations Wholesale (inspirationswholesale.co.uk). Winter foliage, like lights, adds warmth and cheer.

‘Food, glorious food!’

Here’s another ‘old out and new in’ idea – no more turkey! Yes, it’s traditional, but so are a lot of other meats. Ring in the changes by presenting your guests with pork or beef or duck or fish (salmon, turbot, sole etc.). They can all be eaten with most of the traditional side dishes and it’s more than likley that your guests will enjoy the change. If you can, find a local butcher, farm shop or farmer’s market for your meat. Your local supermarket should also be able to prepare meat and fish as you require. As far as recipes are concerned, look at the Good Housekeeping website (goodhousekeeping.co.uk), where you will also find ideas for starters and desserts.

‘Have yourselves a merry little Christmas’

Alcoholic drinks are not to everyone’s liking, and even if they are it doesn’t hurt to drink a few non-alcoholic ones. They aren’t boring either. There’s some great mixes and flavours to be had, and you can have a lot of fun creating your own mulled drinks, punches or smoothies. Eating Well (eatingwell.com) has some non-alcoholic Holiday drink recipes including ‘Sleigh Driver’, ‘Cran Razzy’ and ‘Passion Colada’.

‘My turn!’

Christmas evening and all the same stuff on the box. So, time for games. The old favourites are fine – charades and pin the tail on the donkey – but even these have variations. There are loads of ideas on the ‘net, for adults and all-age gatherings.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’

There’s not a lot of things which can beat flopping into bed on new bed linen. So, treat your beds and your guests, and yourself – after all, you’ve worked hard – to new bed linen. Companies such as IKEA (ikea.co.uk) and Debenhams (debenhams.co.uk) carry a range of bed linen to suit all tastes, styles and budgets, including great colours for the Christmas season. 

‘Happy Christmas!’

There you have it. Hopefully, these ideas on how you can pamper your guests, not stress so much and have a great time have got the little grey cells working. Even if you don’t go for all, or any, of them at least you’ve got a starting point. The main thing is that you make it a Christmas that you and your guests will remember for all the right reasons. So, ‘Happy Christmas!’ 

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