Christmas spending doesn’t have to bankrupt you. According to the Daily Mail many Brits will curtail their Christmas spending this year, and are planning a festive budget of £868 – only £6 more than was spent in 2002.

Presents can be cheap

Most consumers interviewed in that survey suggested that food and entertainment is one area where they plan to use most of their budget, and they will spend less on presents and decorations. Those who want to create a magical Christmas for their friends and family might want to have a look at ideas from You don’t have to be a Blue Peter aficionado (though it helps) to put into practice some of their ideas for making candles, presents and decorations, and the financial savings can be considerable.

Making your own decorations can be fun

In some households the annual festive celebration comes as a bit of a shock, and this often results in a budget overspend as you chase around the shops trying to find last minute decorations and presents. Christmas really does come every year and if it’s at all possible, try and save any interesting pieces of wrapping paper, cards, stencils and other crafting paraphernalia throughout the year, so that you can make your decorations in advance of the big occasion. It’s quite amazing what you can create with some pine cones, sprayed silver or gold, as a table piece. Alternatively you could make some stars from old paper Christmas cards and hang them on the tree.

 Christmas presents don’t have to be expensive

The glossy department store advertisements that are currently being screened across the UK have been designed in order to urge you to spend money that you might not have. Interestingly, a survey published this summer makes cheerful reading for hard-pressed parents. 40% of 7-11 year olds prefer arts and crafts toys to hi tech games. You can also sit down with your kids and help them make presents for their friends; a home made present may prove more popular than an expensive shop bought gift.

Think about food and drink

Although not strictly crafting, another way of saving money this Christmas is to create some special food gifts. It’s easy to make some interesting olive oil, simply put the oil in a recycled glass jar and stick in some chillies and garlic. Alternatively you could use some fresh herbs, leave this concoction for a few months and you’ll end up with some classy oil that is as good as any from an expensive deli.

You could ask the kids to create special labels for your presents. Homemade punch is just as good as a pricey malt whisky, and needn’t have a high alcohol content. Look out for a kit, if you don’t want to start collecting the herbs and spices from scratch.

Santa still prefers letters to emails

Emails to the whiskered gentleman at the North Pole haven’t really caught on. You can always spend a creative session with your kids, dye some paper and reintroduce them to the pleasures of calligraphy. If you incorporate their help to make your Christmas cards, you’ll have a pleasurable and inexpensive time.