Tips and tricks for an easy, breezy sea­son

En­sure your fes­tive sea­son is as or­gan­ised and cost-ef­fec­tive as pos­si­ble with our 25 tips and tricks

Your Home and Garden - - Contents - Com­piled by Fiona Ralph.


SHOP­PING “I shop through­out the year: when I see some­thing good, I grab it, es­pe­cially when it’s on sale! But it can be easy to for­get so I keep lists: one for present ideas and one for presents I have bought. That way noth­ing gets lost in the depths of the present cup­board.” Deb­bie Har­ri­son,

YHG con­trib­u­tor


STYLING “Pot your own Christ­mas tree seedling and watch it grow over the years. It saves money and time spent on get­ting a new tree each year and is a more sus­tain­able op­tion – just bring the pot in­side each De­cem­ber.” Fiona Ralph,

YHG fea­tures ed­i­tor


GIFTING “For my daugh­ters, I’m do­ing ‘want, need, wear, read’ for their Christ­mas presents. It lim­its the num­ber of presents they get and also makes me think harder about what to get them.” Rachel Robert­son,

YHG reader


SHOP­PING “I com­pletely avoid shops in De­cem­ber – I either buy all my presents in Novem­ber or hit the on­line stores. And apart from fruit and veg, I have all my Christ­mas gro­ceries

de­liv­ered to avoid su­per­mar­ket mad­ness.” Tina Stephen, YHG con­trib­u­tor


GIFTING “I usu­ally buy prac­ti­cal gifts that peo­ple may not buy for them­selves such as nice tea tow­els or pa­per nap­kins. For fam­ily and grand­par­ents I tend to give them a nice framed fam­ily photo taken dur­ing the year and some hand­made treats.” Vanessa Nouwens,

YHG con­trib­u­tor


BUDGETING “We fig­ure out how much

money we’ll need for Christ­mas then do weekly pay­ments from Jan­uary to De­cem­ber into an ac­count. All gifts, food and so on come from that so there is no stress.”

Gill Weavers, YHG reader


CATER­ING “Our ex­tended fam­ily splits the

food so we all con­trib­ute. I make the Ger­man gin­ger­bread dough in early De­cem­ber and freeze it, then bake it a week be­fore Christ­mas and dec­o­rate and as­sem­ble the gin­ger­bread house on Christ­mas Eve. This isn’t too much to man­age and means I have the pa­tience to work with the kids on the task.” Megan Kingston-Burke,

YHG reader


STYLING “Spend money on styling one ma­jor area and keep ev­ery­thing else sim­ple: eg the tree, the

ta­ble or the wrap­ping.” Sally Conor, YHG sub ed­i­tor



“Use wall­pa­per from op-shops as wrap­ping pa­per. Or use kids’ art­work – the

grand­par­ents love it!” He­len Bankers, YHG con­trib­u­tor


GIFTING “Give ex­pe­ri­ences in­stead of stuff: make a card for Nana con­tain­ing a prom­ise to spend

the day help­ing her in the gar­den. Give your un­der-10 a book­let of home­made vouch­ers for things like half an hour of goal-kick­ing prac­tice, a trip to the beach or a day at the art gallery.” Sally Conor,

YHG sub ed­i­tor



“I cut up Christ­mas cards to make gift tags for the fol­low­ing year’s presents. Re­sult – a cool va­ri­ety of gift tags and a good feel­ing that I’m up­cy­cling.” Adele O’Leary, YHG reader


CATER­ING “I add a cou­ple of items to the weekly shop­ping from Labour Day on­wards. It beats do­ing a big shop dur­ing Christ­mas week.” Peg­gie Tobin-Joines,

YHG reader


GIFTING “Once I have bought my kids’ presents, I lay them out and take a photo. That way I can see at a glance what holes I can fill when I’m shop­ping. It’s also a help­ful way to make sure I have an even num­ber of gifts for each kid.” Deb­bie Har­ri­son,

YHG con­trib­u­tor


DEC­O­RAT­ING “We re­use dec­o­ra­tions, ex­cept

for a new one for the kids each year. Our Christ­mas tree is more of a ‘mem­ory tree’

be­cause we re­mem­ber when we made or bought

dif­fer­ent dec­o­ra­tions.” Michelle Smith, YHG reader


GIFTING “I be­lieve in giv­ing liv­ing gifts rather than stuff that will go into the land­fill. You can start cut­tings, sow seeds or di­vide up plants in spring when plants are on spe­cial and, if you re-pot into a larger con­tainer, within a cou­ple of months they will grow a lot.” Carol Buck­nell, YHG

gar­dens ed­i­tor


WRAP­PING “I have a huge roll of brown pa­per (from George & Willy) that I use for all my wrap­ping. I love that it’s a blank can­vas which al­lows me to get cre­ative, as well as be­ing cost-ef­fec­tive and kind to the en­vi­ron­ment. I have my three chil­dren draw or paint on the pa­per.” An­nick Larkin,

YHG con­trib­u­tor


CATER­ING “Mak­ing your own drinks is a great way to keep costs down. We’ve been mak­ing limon­cello and le­mon syrup which we use for cocktails or with sparkling wa­ter. You can put both in the freezer un­til Christ­mas Day.” Carol Buck­nell, YHG

gar­dens ed­i­tor



“Be­ing from a larger fam­ily, Christ­mas can get ex­pen­sive. Now that my three sib­lings and I are adults we all do a Se­cret Santa rather than buy­ing each per­son a gift. That way we all get some­thing spe­cial and save some money.” Imo­gen Temm, YHG

de­signer + stylist


WRAP­PING “The Ware­house has a great se­lec­tion of tree or­na­ments ($2 each) that are a fun twist on the tra­di­tional bauble. I like

to tie them onto gifts much like a gift tag – they add colour and can be reused by the re­cip­i­ent.” An­nick Larkin,

YHG con­trib­u­tor


WRAP­PING “Gift wrap is al­ways re­cy­cled in our fam­ily. You need to be quick to hus­tle away the best stuff for next year! It’s funny see­ing the same piece of wrap com­ing back year af­ter year.” Deb­bie Har­ri­son,

YHG con­trib­u­tor



“Get rid of some ex­tras: Christ­mas crack­ers are a laugh but most of them end up in the bin. In­stead, make pa­per hats as a craft project and ask fam­ily mem­bers to share their best jokes.” Sally Conor,

YHG sub ed­i­tor


SHOP­PING “I buy sec­ond­hand gifts from op-shops dur­ing the year if I see items that I know friends or fam­ily mem­bers will ap­pre­ci­ate – it’s eco-friendly and more af­ford­able.” Fiona Ralph, YHG

fea­tures ed­i­tor


SHOP­PING “I buy ex­tras in the gro­cery

shop to make up ‘the flat pack’. Sham­poos, de­odor­ants, ra­zors, aspirin, plas­ters… all the ex­pen­sive stuff boys never buy while flat­ting.” Theresa Gaye Hall, YHG reader



“Look at the fo­liage in your area. We wrap long cut­tings of ivy around the house to make things fes­tive. Try for­ag­ing – you will be sur­prised at what your neigh­bour might pro­vide if you ask!” He­len Bankers,

YHG con­trib­u­tor


FEAST­ING “Start Christ­mas Day with an easy break­fast plat­ter. Keep it quick and sim­ple – Turk­ish pide, feta, cu­cum­ber, toma­toes, olives, boiled eggs, fig jam and, of course, Cham­pagne.” Tina Stephen, YHG con­trib­u­tor

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