Christmas decorating on a budget

Red Christmas baubles --- Image by � Creativ Studio Heinemann/Westend61/Corbis

Christmas is a time that is steeped in tradition, and festive decorations around the home are all part of the fun. Those fancy baubles and lights don't come cheap though, so for those on a budget this year, here are some money-saving tips that'll have your home looking festive without breaking the bank.

Make your own
If you're a parent, the chances are you'll have a Christmas to-do list as long as your arm, and DIY decorations are not only a great way to keep the kids occupied rather than under your feet, but are also a big money-saver. Paper chains, paper snowflakes and threaded popcorn will keep the children busy for hours and keep your spend to a minimum. You could even ask them to make an angel or star for the top of the tree.

Fun with food
For those of you who enjoy cooking up a storm at Christmas, why not put your skills to good use and create some foodie decorations? Festive cookie cutters mean you can make edible treats that will double as tree decorations, so knock up a batch of gingerbread of chocolate chip and just add ribbons to tie to the tree. Sliced fruits dried on a low heat in the oven also make for a festive look, and will add colour if you're low on baubles or tree lights.

And if you're not a baking whizz, you can still use festive food to decorate. Clementines, nuts and cranberries in a pretty glass bowl are undoubtedly Christmassy, so if they're on your shopping list anyway, make use of them.

Natural decor
Holly, ivy and evergreens are all traditional Christmas decorations and they are widely available in the great outdoors. Trail ivy and/or holly on mantelpieces and picture frames, and create a table centrepiece with fir, or pile pine cones into a glass bowl or wicker basket. Just don't go snipping your neighbour's plants without asking first!

Invest in the little things
You can keep your Christmas decoration spend down by investing in small, cheap items that will help you create that festive look. For instance, coloured ribbon will dress up centrepieces, candles and can be used as ties for tree decorations, while silver, gold or fake snow spray can instantly inject a little festive cheer into your DIY decorations.

Don't dismiss budget stores
If making your own just isn't your style, don't rule out supermarkets and pound stores as a source of decorations. For instance, at Poundstretcher this year you can pick up a glittering hanging star for just 99p, a string of 20 pretty jewel lights for £4.99, and a bumper pack of 77 baubles for only £7.99. Similarly there are bargains to be had at the likes of Lidl, where you can pick up pretty hanging decorations for £1.79 each, LED rope lights for £11.99, and a six-piece candle set for £2.99. So with a little online research, you might just find you can decorate your house on a budget all while you do your weekly shop.

What are your top tips for saving money on Christmas decorations? Leave your comments below...
Simple Christmas Decor For Your Home