Not everyone wants to think about a Christmas theme or to carry out all the work involved in sourcing and decorating to suit the chosen theme. There are some really lovely and unusual themes that can be chosen, instead of the traditional red and green that can be supplied by a Christmas tree or wreath and some red baubles or holly berries. These can require a lot of work and a reasonable budget that not everyone can afford. Christmas can still be fun and decorative without a large budget.
Tree and wreath with mistletoe for a traditional Christmas
For some people, a cheerful Christmas tree, decorated with hand made items, some fairy lights and perhaps sparkly tinsel is as much as they can think of with everything else to do at Christmas, especially if children are involved. And if a budget is a big consideration, then perhaps any spare money should be spent on quality toys for children or good food, rather than decorations which may be discarded once Christmas is done or which may not survive any mauling they may receive.
Fun Christmas theme using gnomes
For others, decorating for Christmas requires careful thought ahead of time, with a different theme or color scheme each year being a total necessity. Your theme may depend on whether you will be hosting adult or perhaps business company for Christmas or whether you are a harrassed parent with a number of small children and plenty of company to keep you busy. Themes do not all have to be high cost or bought in, they can be home made, with children creating snowmen or snowwomen and families or gnomes, for instance from recyclable materials that might otherwise be junked, including toilet paper inner rolls, dishwashing liquid bottles, cereal packets, paints, pencils or crayons and a lot of imagination and possibly cotton wool.
Door covers are a great way to decorate the outside or inside of your home at low cost. These are plastic or pvc sheets with colorful Christmas themes and pictures that are pinned or taped to the doors in your house. They are mostly budget friendly and provide a quick way of brightening the house with a cheerful and colorful festive feel. Being plastic, they are waterproof, so can be used outside on your entry door or inside on various inner doors.
Points To Be Careful Of
Plastic Christmas door cover or poster
If you are choosing a door cover or door covers for your house, make sure you know, as far as you can, what you are getting.
Door covers can be different heights, ranging from 5 feet to 7 feet. A 5 foot cover is unlikely to cover your whole door but can look very effective centered vertically on the door, especially if it has a glass panel to shine light through. You can also add decorations top and bottom, depending on your creativity and the material to hand, For instance green paper at the bottom for grass or white for snow, perhaps wood effect paper at the top to suggest a shed. A 7 foot door cover may well cover your whole door or most of it.
Check the width of your chosen cover against your door width. You may prefer a narrow cover or want one that goes right to the edges. Remember you will need a way to open the door and may need to cut a slit for a handle.
Attaching The Cover
Many of the door covers come with a rope that attaches to corner holes but this may not be suitable for your door. You may need to tape or tack the cover to your door. Be sure you are happy with the options you choose before perhaps realising that you could cause damage to a new door.
As with anything, you need to be sure of the quality of the item you are getting compared with the price you are paying. You will not get a silk purse at sow’s ear prices but you will at least want something that is likely to last out the Christmas season without ripping, even if it does not survive for re-use next year.
Take down the Christmas cards you were sent and displayed. You DID get them up?
If you do not have a list of people you send Christmas cards to, then you could start to build it up now, by recording the names and addresses of those who sent you Christmas cards this year. Even better, record them on a spreadsheet because that will let you print out address labels next November or December, making sending cards even easier!
Just Get It Done Tip
If you find that making a card list or recording it on a spreadsheet is holding you back from clearing away the cards, then forget that and just get them gathered up, ready to recycle or dump.
Store Any unused Cards For Next Year
If you had any Christmas cards and stamps left over, you can save them for next year. I use an old boot box or shoe box and store it at the side of my wardrobe. If you need to have something tidier, AND your finances can stand it, you can get special boxes for storing all kinds of cards. If money is tight, an old shoe box or any other kind of available box will do fine. You can even use it for storing birthday cards, so you always have one available for emergencies during the year!
Take Down The Tree
Of course, this depends on the type of tree you had. A “real” Christmas tree will now need to be disposed of somehow and removed from the house without dropping dry prickly pine needles all over the floor. This is always a harder job than dragging in the fresh tree at the start of December. Some people keep their fresh Christmas tree in a tub and bring that in each year, rolling it outside again in January. That gives you the joy of a fresh tree without the needle drop, however, the tub can get dirty during the year, you may need a trolley to move it in and out and the tree will keep growing, eventually getting too big.
An artificial Christmas tree can of course be dismantled and stored in the box it came in. What? You didn’t keep the box? No problem, you can get a Christmas tree bag, to take the place of the one you threw out when Christmas was going to last forever. It is also possible to get a bag that covers the tree without dismantling it which saves having to take it apart, with the possibility of losing or breaking a vital part. If you get one of those, you are probably best to be able to keep the tree on the same level of your house as it may be heavy or awkward to move.
Take Down The Decorations
And unless you are storing the tree vertically, with unbreakable ornaments, you will need to take any lights, tinsel and decorations off and store those safely. Lights can be wound around a reel to keep them tangle free. Many decorations are fragile and may need to be stored in a soft storage box with good protection around it.
This really should be done as soon as Christmas is over but unless it is done in the time between Christmas and New Year, it will probably get left until there is a bit of time left over from putting the wreckage away! This is the bit about recording what went well and what could have been improved over Christmas. You may enjoy creating a Christmas journal for this, to last from year to year. If you haven’t the time or the money to develop a journal at the minute, get an old school exercise book, or anything you can write in and keep, to record what you need to remember.
I have included the turkey roasting times and oven temperature, the weights of vegetables I used (roughly) a reminder to get large foil and check my roasting tin is still ok. A list of fruit and veg I buy to last over the 4 days, boiling times for Christmas pudding, a reminder to get cream, the recipe for the favorite Turkey curry and turkey soup, etc. Anything that you only do at Christmas and might forget about by next Christmas. While you might enjoy coloring in a journal and recording all this in different styles of penmanship, the important thing is to write it down or record it for next year, so you don’t make the same mistakes as this year (if you did). I also write down the number of cards I posted out, so I can buy enough for next year and the correct number of stamps.
IF you have the money available and the available space, and only if, then see whether any of the shops have sales on for Christmas cards, wrapping paper, money envelopes, colored sticky tape, labels, or anything that you USE for Christmas and don’t still have enough of for next year. You could also look out for any craft sales or children’s books that would be suitable for any children you buy for (remember they will be a year older). If your finances are not in a good way of going, forget about this point, it’s more important to get the money side sorted.
Now is the time to take a good hard look at your finances. Christmas can be a very big drain on the purse or wallet if you let it. And the credit card bills will be coming in to roost shortly. If you have several cards to pay and are worried about how to pay them, get advice on debt EARLY. If your debt is worrying but not at crisis point, then pay the minimum off on all cards and pay extra off on the card with the highest rate of interest to bring it down as fast as possible. If the interest rate is the same on all the cards, then pay the extra off on the card with the least debt on it, then move onto the next. The reason for that is that you will be able to pay it off fastest and then you can spread any available money between fewer cards. If you do not know WHY you got into debt and are not sure how to get out of it, then I suggest you buy and read the GOOD book – the Get Out Of Debt book by Pam Young – ignore any other books of the same name. Pam Young is the real thing. She was in massive debt and found a way to get out of debt and cut up her credit card. You can do it too. This book is also SERIOUSLY FUNNY!
If you really want to see the credit card funeral, you can watch this here.
It is also extremely funny and shows a judge performing a funeral service for credit cards at a convention where people decided to become debt free, despite having large debts owing.
Check that you have taken down all your Christmas cards, your tree, decorations, lights, tinsel etc and that they are now stored safely where you won’t trip over them but you can access them easily next December.
Get your Christmas card list started, completed or updated for next year.
Check your finances and make plan to improve them if necessary.
Record any necessary information in your Christmas journal, so you have your recipes, times, oven temperatures and other plans ready to remind you at the critical moment.
If your finances are sorted, you could consider whether there are any small items you could buy ahead for next year. Alternatively, start saving money towards the cost of next Christmas but only if your credit cards are sorted. If you owe any money, get it paid off as soon as possible.
Do you send and receive Christmas cards? The start of November is a good time to check over your Christmas card list, or prepare one if you don’t have one. I keep mine in an Excel spreadsheet because that can be used to print out address labels – very handy. During the year, I update it if I hear of someone moving or a death, so it’s always ready for Christmas. Updating is very quick. How many cards do you send? I normally expect to send about 80, so I start looking out for budget boxes of cards I can buy, as well as checking to see whether I have any left from last year.
If you send cards and use a list for printing labels, you will need to check your cards, labels stock and printer ink. Of course, you can always send an ecard and there are many firms that provide this service.
If you send snail mail cards, you will need postage stamps. November is the time that Christmas stamps often come out and it can help with budgeting to buy a packet of a few each week during November.
If you have decorations left from last year, it is a good idea to check them over, especially lights or any electrical items, for damage or wear and tear and to get fresh ones if necessary. If you buy a fresh tree each year, you could also look for Christmas tree sellers near you and ask when their trees will be ready to select from. The start of December is a good time to get a tree, to keep it fresh for Christmas. An artificial tree can be kept from year to year and doesn’t suffer from needle drop. Again, it is time to check the tree and see if a new one is needed.
Local shops will often start taking orders for food during November, especially for large items like Turkeys and hams. You may be able to start a savings plan with your local supplier, though you need to be careful with this to ensure your money is safe. Have you ordered or baked your Christmas cake and Christmas pudding? Some people also make their own mincemeat. If this is not for you, start looking out for cakes, biscuits and puddings you can buy now and store safely until Christmas.
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