Build yourself a merry little Christmas

(Stationery ‘Sundays’ aren’t just for Sundays.)

Who would have thought that when we read about the Wise Men’s questionable gift choices, the only thing we’d take from the Holy celebration would be the ‘gift’ element.

Working in an art store, I sell Christmas cards, decorations and gifts to hundreds of customers every shift. The scene is set in store with the all-too-thoroughly-known Christmas Soundtrack dusted off and blaring through the speakers. Yet, I’m surprised by the volume of customers who enter into a discussion at the tills not very much in favour of posting nice cards to loved ones this Christmas.

“How much is it for stamps?”

I tell the customer the price, knowing they’ll politely decline. I don’t press the sale because I’d do the same too if it cost me just under £3.50 to post cards to every six recipients on my list.

A brisk stroll down Buchanan Street is enough to illustrate the sublime costs of Christmas. While there may be a 3 for 2 deal on every street corner, it seems that one small necessary purchase after another builds up a healthy old deduction from your bank account – a sum you might feel reluctant to part with as your ‘available balance’ starts to shrink into something which won’t cover gifts for everyone. Surely, there are cheaper ways to make ends meet at Christmas.

I took to the power of the internet to track down some of the best ‘how to’s’ for handmade festive gifts and decorations. Not only does crafting cost a fraction of a standard shopping trip, allowing yourself to be creative every so often is very therapeutic and provides a much needed escape from all the bustle of Buchanan Galleries in December. Taking time to make gifts yourself is a much more thoughtful way of covering everything you need to on a budget as there is no price tag attached to creativity. Heck, we reckon they’ll be emotional at the thought you’ve put in alone.

Here are some ideas to get you into the spirit.

N.B. For ultimate festivity, why not put a Christmas playlist on in the background while you work? Get your flatmates involved too!

Decorated Glass Candle Holder

All you need to create beautiful decorations for your home or gifts for your friends is a few empty glass containers – be they empty candle jars, jam jars or a plain glass tea light holders –some Nail art pens or glass-friendly paints, cellophane, a bit of ribbon/string and a tea light (scrounge through your local pound store for a whole bag of these!).

Using the paints, colour your glass container from bottom to top in pretty patterns and watch your designs come to life with a lit candle inside. If candles aren’t their thing, why not roll up some battery-powered fairy lights and stuff them inside? Wrap the completed holder in some clear cellophane, securing it with some more ribbon and a pretty gift tag. For an extra special touch, why not make a bed for your candle with some salt or dried fruit? Tie a piece of string or coloured ribbon around the rim of the container and secure with bow, an acorn or mini decoration to complete the look. Secret Santa – sorted.


Paper Garland

Take to the stacks to make your own decorative garland and save some dolla. You will need some sheet music or pages of an old book, a glue stick or some masking tape, a cardboard circle, a ribbon, some hot glue and a medallion or decoration.

Firstly, make a slit on the front of the cardboard circle near the top and feed some ribbon through it. This is how you will hang your garland to the wall or door. You will then need to roll 15 or 20 pages and secure the tips of each to the center of your cardboard circle, which you should mark the center of with a dot to help you. Use masking tape or glue to do secure them tightly. Turn the garland over now and decorate the medallion in the center – why not print out a picture to make it personal and cover the edges in frills? Simply feed the hanging ribbon behind the roll closest to the top to complete the garland. Experiment with different pages and medallions for a special touch and maybe even give this as a gift too!


DIY Fireplace

It’s the ultimate festive dream, isn’t it – to have a beautiful fireplace at the centre of your living room to decorate with beautiful lights and candles. So, what do you do when you don’t have an authentic one at home? You make your own cardboard one!

Cut out a host of red paper rectangles and, using masking tape, form a fireplace arch from old cardboard boxes. Cover your makeshift fireplace in scraps of white A4 paper before sticking down your red rectangles to create a brick-look. Manoeuvre the entire thing from room to room if you like!

Published by The Student Advertiser,  5.12.15

Header image created by myself

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