The lead up to Christmas isn’t always bright lights, champagne and laughter, is it? Do you often find yourself asking: “How can I spend less on housekeeping?” and “How can I do more but stress less?”
I know I do.
Too often the lead up to Christmas sees me in a spin and money disappearing from my wallet like rats fleeing from a sinking ship.
“The art is not in making money, but in keeping it.” Proverb
While we don’t want to be miserly or Scrooge-ish when it comes to festive housekeeping, there are so many ways we can cut down on spending prior to Christmas (this is a post about Christmas in Australia) while still doing things in style.
I’ll bet you have lots of great ideas too, and I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.
Tips for how to stress less and spend less on housekeeping.
- Visit your nearest charity shop and buy some wide necked jars or bottles. Half fill them with sand. Place thick candles inside the jars. Then use them to light up and decorate your garden for festive nights.
- No tablecloths for your picnic tables? No worries, Grab some black bin bags, cut them open and use them to cover the table. Then brighten things up with colourful napkins and plates, coloured glasses, and a small posy of flowers as the centre piece.
- Buy some lengths of satin ribbon in different colours to tie around serviettes to give a nod to luxury and elegance. Or for a rustic look tie your serviettes with coarse string and (just before guests arrive) thread through stems of parsley, basil and coriander.
- No wrapping paper? Place the gift in a black or yellow garbage bag and tie with bright satin ribbon.
- Too busy to cook but in need of a quick dinner idea? Mix together a carton of cream, a bottle of your favourite fruit chutney and pour over chicken pieces. Bake slowly in a covered oven proof baking dish until chicken is cooked through and then sprinkle with chopped parsley just before serving.
- Alternatively pour a tub of cream over four chicken pieces, add a small cupful of frozen peas and bake in the oven until done.
- Forgotten to buy mayo? For a healthy and easy mayonnaise – mix 1 small pot of natural yoghurt with a tablespoon of fresh lemon or lime juice, a heaped tea spoonful of grainy mustard, and salt and pepper. Adjust ingredients to your taste. Add a little honey to sweeten if necessary.
- If you buy new shoes for Christmas don’t throw away the boxes they come in. Shoe boxes make great storage containers for odds and ends around the house, or place them in drawers to separate sock and pants.
- Don’t throw away egg boxes. Take off the tops and place them in a drawer to separate and store all the rings, earrings and necklaces you might be given this Christmas! LOL!
- Buy cotton table napkins (not linen) instead of paper serviettes – then just wash and fold. They look more elegant and could save you money in the long run.
- Freeze mint leaves in your ice cube containers and use in festive cocktails or iced tea.
- If you’re buying fruit for pavlova, make sure to store strawberries and blueberries in a colander so that air can circulate around the fruit – it makes the berries last longer.
- Keep your pantry stocked with chick peas, kidney beans, sardines, tuna, sweetcorn, tinned tomatoes, stock cubes and pitted olives, and you’ll never be short of a healthy meal to whip up when the fridge runs low during holidays.
- Freeze some cheddar cheese – in case you need to make a quick sauce or sandwich when you’ve run out of cheese or the shops are shut.
- Going to yet another gathering? Don’t take chocolates, flowers or wine, take something that will last for longer such as a small pot plant, or a pot of herbs instead?