Celebrate Christmas while keeping costs down for gifts… including chickens

IT’S almost Secret Santa time. Whether you’re organising one with friends or family, it can be a fun and cheap way to exchange gifts.

But costs can still mount up, and you can often end up spending money on gifts which end up in the bin.

So what can you do to keep costs down – and what are the alternatives?

CHICK THIS OUT: Instead of buying a novelty gift that ends up as landfill, do your bit by giving a charity gift, such as farm animals or school essentials to go to some of the world’s poorest people. Buy six chickens for £13 or a pig for £11 from charity Concern. Visit gifts.concern.org.uk/charity-secret-santa-gifts.

SET A LOWER PRICE CAP: Be disciplined about the maximum spend. Don’t set the budget at £10 or more. You can pick up plenty of quirky little gifts for less than £5.

HIT THE POUND STORE: Grab bath sets, candles, gloves and other gifts for less at a pound store. Right now, you can get five per cent cashback on first-time orders at The Poundshop, via topcashback.co.uk/poundshop/.

MAKE YOUR OWN: Make savings on Secret Santa by going down the DIY route and getting crafty, creative, or busy in the kitchen. 

Cook up a batch of gingerbread men, or if you’re a keen knitter, fashion a hat or scarf.

BUY SECOND-HAND: Trawl your local charity shops for recycled Secret Santa ideas.

TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT: If you’re fed up of the traditional Secret Santa, why not try something a little different, like a Christmas cook-off. 

Set a maximum spend, and task everyone with finding a simple festive recipe, then get them to wrap the ingredients inside a little parcel. 

Participants then pick out a recipe pack to experiment with.

SAVE: Around £2-£3

  • PRICES correct at time of going to press. Deals and offers subject to availability.

Deal of the day

 LOVELY, the scent by Sarah Jessica Parker, is now just £19.99 from The Perfume Shop, down from £78.99.

SAVE: £59

Cheap treat

GRAB a three-for-two deal on selected festive food-to-go at Asda, including the Pig In Blanket sub roll, £3 each.

SAVE: £3 (when buying 3)

What's new?

DRESS to impress this Christmas and get up to 6.4 per cent cashback when you purchase your little black dress and other party essentials from ASOS via My Money Pocket. See mymoneypocket.co.uk.

Top swap

LIGHT up your home with the 6ft Belgravia pre-lit Xmas tree, above, £279 from John Lewis. Or go for B&M’s 6ft pre-lit tree, below, for £80.

SAVE: £199


SAVERS’ LITTLE HELPER

OPEN a new Santander Everyday current account, 123 current account or 123 Lite current account via money.co.uk and get £130 cashback – plus a £20 Amazon gift card.

To qualify, you need to pay in at least £1,000 and have two active direct debits set up within 60 days. Ends December 2. Visit money.co.uk.

Shop & save

ENJOY a quick, low-calorie meal before you head out to party this Christmas. Get the WW Bolognese bake for just £2 at Morrisons, down from £2.50, one of a range of discounted chilled meals.

SAVE: 50p

Hot right now

PROGRESS has launched a kitchen gadget range in Primark including a waffle maker for £12 and a £25 table-top grill.

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