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Hotels, restaurants and homes can cut the cost of Christmas

Have a cheap Christmas without being a scrooge

Christmas 2010 will go down in history as the year everybody had to cut back, but having a cheap Christmas doesn't mean it will be any less fun. With a few easy-to-implement ideas, this festive season could have benefits for your wallet, the environment, and your guests.

Reuse, recycle and DIY: If there's anything you can reuse, do! When it comes to decorations, sometimes a candle in a green wine bottle with a red ribbon around it will do just the job. In the home, salt dough decorations are cheap and fun to make. Old wrapping paper and last year's cards are also great materials for homemade Christmas cards, gift tags, and tree decorations if you're the crafty sort.

Dinners can be different: Incredibly, the UK throws away an estimated 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink every Christmas. You can avoid contributing to this by asking yourself a few questions. How many of your guests will really eat sprouts? Is homemade gravy cheaper than instant? How will you use up the leftovers? And crucially – could your establishment offer an alternative to Christmas dinner? Many families also find that a buffet-style Christmas dinner, in serving dishes rather than shared out onto individual plates, helps reduce waste.

Less is more: The Office for National Statistics reported that the average Brit spends £658 in their lifetime on Christmas crackers alone, and £600 per year on presents. So the big question is, can you get a bargain? It's also worth remembering that Christmas needn't mean a tree in every hotel room and decorations on every surface; certain establishments could try a minimalist look, with one festive focal point and tasteful centrepieces.

Go green: One of the biggest drains on our finances around Christmas is energy bills. You can do your bit for the environment and save money in the process by turning those Christmas tree lights off whenever possible, and investing in luxury bedding such as thick duvets to reduce heating bills.

Christmas restaurant supplies: For an instant festive feel with a touch of class, Christmas table linen is a great idea. Tablecloths, napkins and placemats are available in seasonal colours such as red, gold or green, so you can mix and match or compliment your existing colour scheme. Christmas table linen is a great investment because, as we advised in step one, it can be reused every Christmas for years to come.

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