Christmas on a shoestring

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The pressure to make Christmas magical can feel overwhelming, but you don't need to spend the earth at this time of year to still have a good time.

Here are some top tips for a thrifty festive season.

Letter from Santa

If your little ones still believe in the big guy, then it's definitely worth getting them a free letter from Santa (aka the Royal Mail). 

Send your child's Christmas letters to: Santa/Father Christmas, Santa's Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ.

All it costs is a stamp - Santa's elves will do the rest! Make sure that you include your child's full name and address in the letter so Santa can write back to your little believer.

Send your letters by Friday 11 December to receive your reply.

Secret Santa

If you have a large family, lots of nieces and nephews can start to set you back financially if you buy for everyone.

Instead, why not follow the old tradition of Secret Santa? This is usually for work colleagues or friends, but it can be done with relatives too.

Set a budget and draw names from a hat. This is a much cheaper alternative than buying individual presents and also saves you from hours of tedious wrapping!

Shop Smart

You can get a family Christmas dinner with all the trimmings for less than £14. All you have to do is shop around a little. This is what we found when looking around for the best deals:

  • Iceland turkey with bacon (serves 4) (525g) - £3.50
  • Asda sage and onion stuffing - 35p
  • Asda smart Price gravy granules - 25p
  • Asda pigs in blankets (300g) - £1.97
  • Morrisons Wonky Veg selection box (8 x potatoes, 8 x carrots, cauliflower, 4 x onions, cabbage, 4 x parsnips, swede) - £3.00
  • Asda smart price yorkshire puddings x 15 - 50p
  • Asda Profiteroles x 16 - £1.15
  • Iceland Chocolate Gateaux (serves 6) - £2.00
  • Poundland 6 Christmas Crackers - £1.00

Remember, these prices could change but the general idea is that if you don't limit yourself to just one store, you can have a great Christmas dinner without having to spend a fortune.

MSE Money Saving Tips is full of useful information all year round, from how you can cut your bills and switch energy accounts to budgeting and boosting your income.

But they also have some great advice, in addition to ours, on for Christmas time. For no less than 40 tips on saving money at Christmas, visit

Don't fall prey to credit

It's far better to budget in advance for Christmas than to borrow. Christmas really is about spending time with your family; so enjoy a little turkey, curl up under a blanket and watch some Christmas movies.

Debt worries

Sadly, Christmas isn't jolly for all and some of the things on this list will still be out of reach for many. If you have debt worries, you can get help by contacting any of the organisations below:

Never be afraid to ask for help: it'll feel like having a weight lifted off your shoulders.