Stylish Christmas savers

An amazing Christmas table and elegantly wrapped presents don’t have to blow your budget. With expert tips from a stylist and a party planner, we show you how to be stylish on a shoestring… 

Follow stylist Jennifer Haslam’s top tips and your dining table will impress guests almost as much as the delicious food you serve.

• Use different height decorations across your dining table for a layered look. Slimline pieces such as tall candles and narrow tree ornaments won’t obstruct your guests’ view.

• For a simple festive arrangement, use fresh eucalyptus as a runner – intertwine with battery-operated fairy lights for added sparkle. Get ahead by arranging it the night before – eucalyptus stays fresh for days.

• Continue the greenery theme with place settings – tie cutlery together with a few eucalyptus leaves and natural string.

• Add a further natural touch by using slices of wood as rustic place mats. You can buy them readymade; no need to get out the chainsaw unless you want to.

• There’s always room for flowers on the table, even if you have to move them before you eat. DIY with red roses, berries and gold-sprayed leaves, or look for seasonal offers and buy a ready made bouquet.

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Gifts wrapped with paper and tied with string or twine


Brown paper packages are among our favourite things, especially when they look this good! Photography: David Cleveland. Styling: Jennifer Haslam.

3 ways to make the humblest present look boutique gift-wrapped.

1 Use brown paper

It never goes out of style and can be dressed up in so many ways.

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2 The details make a difference

Use ribbon, string and coloured twine to add texture or colour. Tie in fresh eucalyptus, just a sprig or two, to make your presents smell wonderful as well as look great. A sprig of rosemary works well, too.

3 Look for creative alternatives

Use old music scores as wrapping paper (or print off a Christmas carol score from the internet) and finish with a big, swanky bow.

Bargain wines for Christmas

More present wrapping ideas

• Tartan is big this year – mix ‘n’ match tartan prints on paper and ribbon in red, green and white.

• Use festive masking tape to make your own criss-cross or other designs on brown paper.

• Upcycle free or out-of-date road maps and secure with red cord, then thread through a pretty button and knot to secure it.

• Buy an ink stamp pad in a festive design from Hobbycraft ( – or use a white chalk pen on black paper – and create your own unique wrapping paper. Add ribbon in a complementary colour.

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Tips for planning a party

Party planner Rachel Day of Day Productions, has some great ideas for creating a fun, festive occasions.

• ‘Putting any nibble or canapé on a Christmas or festive plate will make them look fantastic,’ says Rachel. ‘Display everything on your table with lots of candles and you’ll have a gorgeous spread.’

• Make the Christmas tree the focal point where your guests will gather. Decorate with swags of fairy lights and gorgeous baubles.

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• No space for a tree? Create a twig installation over an island or a table. Use invisible fishing wire to hang up the branches, then add baubles. 

• Spray paint twigs and branches gold or silver, put in a vase and decorate with baubles and clear fairy lights to create a mini Christmas tree.

• Decorate mantelpieces and window ledges with holly branches and ivy.

• Fill blank spaces on walls with large, fold-out foil decorations and fat tinsel – it’s colourful, fun and screams Christmas party.

• Play your favourite Christmas songs and everyone will have a ball!

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