Tips for a successful christmas

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Save money this christmas

The festive period can cause a lot of stress on your finances. This gloom reality results in people underestimating their Christmas spending budget, leading to further financial borrowing and debts. Below are a few tips that may help cut your spending costs down this Christmas. We appreciate that it is hard to always keep to set budgets, but we advise that you take note of any ideas for future reference:

  • Plan ahead of what you intend to spend – write a list of people that you intend to buy Christmas gifts for, assign an estimated budget to each individual.
  • Homemade gifts – giving homemade gifts is a good money saving idea. This could be a framed family picture that could be given to a parent or grandparent.
  • Online shopping – shop online for bargains or last minute festive deals. Remember to always take time to search & find the best deal.
  • Buy used items – search auction sites such as ebay to buy already used items that are still in good quality.

Maintain your christmas tree

Its never nice to see a bare Christmas tree, especially before Christmas day! We are happy to provide you with some useful advice on keeping your Christmas tree fresh over the festive period, keeping its fragrance and reducing mass needle fallout.

  • After buying your tree, cut a few inches of the bottom. This makes it easier for the tree to consume water.
  • When setting your tree up inside, we advise to use a stand that will hold at least one gallon of water.
  • Don’t add anything into the water content, such as soda water or sugar. The experts advise using plain water & plenty of it.
  • Watering the tree at regular intervals will help keep the needles fresh and maintain the trees overall fragrance. We advise that you check the water levels at least twice daily.
  • If water levels do fall below the trees cut end, it may result in the cut end sealing over. This may mean re-cutting the trees stem in order to achieve maximum freshness.

Homemade gifts ideas

Not only is a homemade gift an affordable solution, it can also carry a significant amount of sentimental value. There is a huge range of ideas for making homemade gifts, this can range from ornaments to food. While we possibly couldn’t name each individual gift idea, we have included a few brief ideas below to help you on your way.

  • Homemade gift baskets – people in general will appreciate a gift in the form of food. Your gift basket could include some homemade cookies, to add a little Christmas magic you could shape them into Christmas trees or something similar.

Some christmas facts

Some interesting facts about the Christmas season that you may or may not be aware of.

  • The 25th of December was not celebrated as the birth of Christ until the year AD 440.
  • The First Christmas card was designed and created back in 1843 by John Callcott Horsley.
  • In 1647, Christmas was banned by Oliver Cromwell. People would be arrested if they were caught celebrating Christmas. This ban was lifted in 1660.
  • Around 36 million Christmas trees are produced each year, to cope with the huge demand over the festive season.
  • Christmas Pudding was initially
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    made like a soup with wine and raisins in it.
  • Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’ is not only an all time classic but is also the best-selling Christmas song of all time.
  • Before the turkey, the goose was the preferred choice for the traditional Christmas dinner.
  • The tradition of hanging stockings over the fireplace evolved from placing shoes around the fireplace. This was started by Dutch children.

Decorate Your Christmas Tree in Traditional Style

Apply an alternative effect to your Christmas tree this year by decorating it in a traditional ‘old fashioned’ way. This can add an extra special festive touch to your Christmas decor. We advise using the following decorating methods:

  • Instead of using your tree lights, replace them with some traditional looking white candles. Of course, there is a safety issue here in regards to your tree being a fire hazard, so be sure to use common sense and always be present near the tree when the candles are alight.
  • Next, decorate your tree with candy canes. These will add a nice colourful effect and will provide a nice treat for yourself and others.
  • Give your tree a natural ‘outdoors’ effect. This can be done by decorating the tree with cranberries or something similar.
  • Finish the main decorating off by adding a snow effect to the tree. We suggest making your own homemade snow, using white tissue paper.
  • Finally, add the finishing touch in the form of a traditional Christmas Angel on the top of your tree.

Christmas Cake Recipe

For those of you who are planning to make their own Christmas cake this year. The below recipe is for a traditional fruit cake.

Ingredients

  • Plain Flour (8oz)
  • Mixed Spice (1/2 tea spoon)
  • Salt (1/4 tea spoon)
  • Ground Cinnamon (1/2 tea spoon)
  • Butter (7oz)
  • Brown Sugar (7oz)
  • Treacle (2 table spoons)
  • Marmalade (1 table spoon)
  • 4 ‘lightly beaten’ eggs
  • Vanilla Essence (1/4 tea spoon)
  • Dried Fruit Mixture (3/4 lb)
  • Mixed Peel – Chopped (1/2 oz)
  • Glace Cherries – cut in half (5 oz)
  • Chopped Almonds (1/2 oz)
  • Brandy
  1. Add the cinnamon, mixed spice, salt and flour to a bowl.
  2. Add the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl, mixing them together. Then mix in the sugar, marmalade, treacle and vanilla essence – mix until light and fluffy.
  3. Carefully add & mix the eggs into the mixture.
  4. Fold in the remaining flour mixture until it’s well mixed and then add the dried fruit, almonds , glace cherries and the mixed peel.
  5. Grease a cake tin (flat or round), add the mixture into it.
  6. Heat the oven to 150C (300F/Gas2), bake for approximately 3 hours.
  7. Once baked, remove from oven – allow to cool in tin for around 15 minutes, then remove from tin and place cake on a wire rack.
  8. Pierce some holes in the cake and pour on 4 table spoons of brandy, allowing it to soak into the cake.
  9. Wrap in foil, place into a container and store somewhere cool.
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