Good Food Blog
How to make Christmas cheaperPosted at 12:02PM, 29 November 2011 by Lily Barclay - Writer, bbcgoodfood.com
The pressure to spend a fortune at Christmas grows every year and if you have a flock of expectant guests knocking at your door it's easy to feel overwhelmed with the expense of it all.
But a traditional Christmas celebration filled with fine food, seasonal treats and homemade gifts doesn't have to send you into the red. With a bit of clever cooking you can make Christmas surprisingly cheap without cutting back on the festive cheer.
Use your leftovers
As much as we might try, most people fail to polish off the Christmas lunch and end up with an abundance of food the morning after. Getting creative with your leftovers is a great way of saving money - and a really satisfying way of feeding your family.
Oven baked rosti and bubble & squeak make a mouth-watering addition to Boxing Day brunch, and use up all the classic Christmas ingredients. Leftover root vegetables can be combined into a delicious cake, and excess Christmas pannetone can be turned into an extra-posh bread & butter pudding.
Turn the remnants of the cheese board into a tasty tart, whip up a sherried turkey & ham bake, or if you're out to impress make it a roast turkey & cranberry Wellington for the ultimate Boxing Day buffet. But of course no Christmas would be complete without the famous turkey curry - so here's one for Bridget Jones's mum.
You can view all out Christmas leftover recipes here.
Keep guests well fed on the big day with cheap and seasonal winter classics; try a sophisticated but simple starter of celeriac tartare with smoked trout, ham hock terrine with piccalilli, or smoked mackerel salad.
If you don't have hundreds of guests, a Christmas centrepiece of roast chicken with pancetta stuffing or foolproof roast chicken can reduce the stress and cost on the big day. Seasonal sides like winter root mash and creamy parsnip & squash bake are inexpensive and delicious.
If your guests are too full for Christmas pud, finish off in style with a light and festive dessert like poached pears in spiced tea. It'll set you back much less per serving than your traditional Christmas pud but your guests will never guess.
You can view all our Christmas budget recipes here.
Homemade gifts always make a special impression and are a fantastic way of keeping Christmas costs down. A touch of pretty packaging can turn edible treats into something that looks really special.
Chocoholics will love the triple chocolate cupcake kit and you can indulge cheese-loving friends with a stylish baked Camembert kit. Mulling syrup, pickled pears and Baileys & white chocolate fudge are all bound to please the adults too.
Get kids whipping up their own presents in the kitchen with child-friendly recipes like peppermint creams or special chocolate buttons - even if the results don't look perfect granny's sure to be impressed. And if you really want to spoil someone you can always make up a whole personalised hamper.
You can view all our edible gift recipes here.
'Forgotten cuts' like pork belly and lamb shanks have become more popular (and pricey) in recent years - but they're still good value and especially delicious in slow-cooked dishes. Gordon Ramsay's oxtail soup is a delicious winter warmer. If you've got guests staying for the full Christmas period - dishes like lamb neck with Christmas spices and Tuscan fennel rubbed pork are sure to score you culinary points - as well as saving you pounds.
You can view all our cheaper cut recipes here.
Got your own delicious tips for keeping Christmas costs down? Then please share them below. Or check out our favourite low-cost Christmas recipes here.