Wednesday, 19 December 2007


Start early for next Christmas by buying in the January sales – in fact some shops start reducing stock even earlier, in the last 2 or 3 days before Christmas. Look out for Christmas cards, crackers, decorations, presents, labels and wrapping paper. Don’t buy any chocolate, food products or smellies – these will deteriorate over the year, particularly in the summer heat (if we get any that is!). However, do look out for bargains in perfume etc (that are not obviously packed in “Christmas” packaging) if you have any birthdays to buy for in the first few months of next year. Crackers will keep well – but make sure they are stored somewhere dry.

Be a saver on Christmas Day as well – I draw the line at ironing out wrapping paper to use again, but I do re-use bows - carefully remove the self-adhesive square they are stuck on with, then it’s easy to slip a strip of tape over the end piece under the bow in order to attach it to another gift.

Gift bags can be carefully opened and any sticky tape can usually be removed easily. Make sure you do this before folding them flat and putting away, as the tape will leave marks and be almost impossible to remove by next year! Check for any folds and creases – and bin those that don’t look perfect.

Come 12th night, have a quick look through your cards before you send them to the recycling bin. Many can be cut up and used for next year’s labels. Draw round a small glass to make round labels or look for suitable pictures to make rectangular ones, use a hole punch to make a neat hole in one corner and thread with small lengths of gift ribbon ready for next year.

Check on your decorations before you put them away and replace any that are damaged as soon as you can after Christmas when there are good reductions in the New Year sales– especially in the big stores.

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