Cheap ways to decorate for Christmas

There’s a time and place for tinsel and turkey. Love it hate it - the time is ‘now’, and the place is ‘your house’.

Whether you prefer a modest display with just a hint of the festive, or a monumental celebration involving tinsel trees, flashing lights and plastic penguins in every crevice in homage to John Lewis (the “Full Monty”, if you will), one thing is for sure - there is no need to break the bank for the sake of Santa.

We’ve trawled the high street and online offerings to bring you the Ultimate Guide to buying decorations on a budget this Christmas.


Deal - Special offers and promotions

Steal - Under a tenner

Unreal - Under a pound

Happy holidays!


£25 tree with £20 voucher from Ikea

Hurry down to Ikea between now and Sunday 21 Dec to grab a real tree for £25, you’ll get a free £20 voucher to spend in store between Sun 19 Jan and Sat 8 Feb 2015. They are about 5ft 5"(ish) and because they are Nordmann Fir, their needles don't fall off.

There's no minimum spend on the £20 voucher, so you could bag yourself a something entirely free or put it towards a bigger item.

The small print:

  • Not available in Ikea Croydon or Ikea Cardiff - sorry guys :(
  • While stocks last


£7 3ft tree (available in three colours) from B&Q

This rather fabulous specimen comes in a choice of pink (SMS fave), black or white. With it being just 3ft will be easier to transport and plop right into event the smallest of student houses.

B&Q 3ft Christmas tree

The small print:

  • Available in-store & online, order by 7pm to get it the very next day!
  • Also available for Click & Collect
  • Delivery costs £5 for orders under £50, and is free for orders over £50
  • Includes the stand (phew)
  • Fire resistant (drunk housemate-proof)

Or. . .

£5 50cm Ikea Picea Glauca Conica real tree

A teeny-tiny real Christmas tree for a desk or a gnome's living room.

mini christmas tree

The small print:

  • The tree itself is 50cm, the pot is 15cm (see my coffee mug there for perspective)
  • The 'look' of the trees will vary individually as they're real
  • Available in-store only - check local stock levels on Ikea's site
  • Needs to be watered 'moderately'


£1 multicoloured Christmas tree from Poundland

The small and mighty £1 tinsel tree from Poundland. Centerpiece.. or masterpiece?

Poundland £1 Christmas tree

The small print:

  • Ok.. it's a table centrepiece, so only little (about 30cm)
  • Available in-store only
  • Also available in silver


4 for £5 on tinsel at B&Q

Tinsel is to Christmas is what Ed Miliband is to aliens. B&Q has lots of colours to choose from and is long enough to wrap around yourself several times.

B&Q tinsel

The small print:

  • 4 for £5 or £2 each
  • Offer valid on 2m tinsel
  • Available in-store only


£3 Heart design tinsel from Tesco

As Hugh Grant said before he morphed into his alter-ego Hacked-Off Hugh and became all pissed off about everything, 'if you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.' Why settle for plain old regular tinsel when you can spread the love all over your home? Like with these cute little hearts <3

Heart shaped tinsel

The small print:

  • Available in-store and online (stocks are low apparently)
  • Tinsel is 2m in length
  • Comes in a choice of Gold & Silver or Black & Red

Or. . .

£1.50 gold pearl garland from Ikea

Even the most creatively-challenged can make any size tree look elegant(ish), just sling a few of these over it and voila! No need to be a Blue Peter presenter to make a fab tree.

  • 5m in length
  • Comes in gold, silver or red
  • Product no. 902.889.45 (there are a lot of things called 'VINTERMYS Garland' in Ikea)
  • Available in-store only


67p (down from £1.00) 'by Sainsbury's Standard Tinsel'

Super cheap tinsel but annoyingly only available in three colours.

Sainsbury's standard tinsel

  • Offer valid in-store or online for delivery before Thu 25 Dec
  • Not available in all stores so check before making a special trip
  • Orders below £40 have a £6.95 delivery cost, so would be best to combine this product with a big grocery shop (orders over £100 are delivered free, over £40 varies from £1-£6 according to slot time)
  • Comes in red, gold or silver
  • Hurry as stocks are low


£6.39 for 75 Christmas Decorations from Argos (was £15.99 - less than half price)

One pack of these should be more than enough for a big tree AND it includes a star for the top.

75-piece decoration set

The small print:

  • Available online for collection in-store
  • Currently out of stock for home delivery
  • Comes in red, gold, silver, blue or pink & purple
  • Includes 12x snowflakes, 14x icicles, three double sharps (nope. . . no idea), 12x gift box ornaments, 12x 60mm balls, 8x 30mm balls, 24x 9 inch garlands and 1 tree top star.


£3.50 29-piece hanging decoration set from Ikea

These are all cute and small, perfect for a mini tree (like our Ikea one, pictured).

mini decorations set

  • Includes strings and hooks for hanging
  • Available in-store only

Or. . .

£1.99 12 pack of baubles from Aldi

These are what we'd call 'traditional' - each pack has some sparky, some shiny and some matte baubles and a bargain if you're decorating a big tree on a budget.

The small print:

  • Available in-store only
  • Comes in red, gold, silver or multi-coloured


B&Q decorations clearance starting from £1 each

If you're the type to collect weird and wonderful Christmas tree ornaments one by one then have a look at B&Q's selection.

£1 Christmas tree decorations

The small print:

  • Delivery and in-store availability varies per item


£4.99 50 bright white and blue static LED fairy lights from Homebase (was £7.99)

These are perfect for decorating big indoor trees or for garnishing any outdoor topiary. If using for the latter, helpfully the distance between the first bulb and the plug is 1.6m, allowing it to be plugged into the mains and trailed attractively through the house and out the door without illuminating the corridor like a runway.

outdoor christmas tree lights

The small print:

  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Length: 4.1m
  • Available to collect for free in store or for home delivery (£3.95) within 3 working days, or express delivery (£6.95) for same or next day delivery depending on availability
  • Blue & white coloured lights
  • Mains powered


£3 SÄRDAL 12 light LED lighting chain from Ikea (with optional Christmassy add-ons)

This is novel idea; the lights come as basic white bulbs (perfectly acceptable solo) but can then be accompanied by some optional and admittedly slightly odd decorations.

christmas lights

The small print (lights):

  • Battery powered - requires 2 x AA batteries (not included)
  • 'Warm white' coloured
  • For indoor use only
  • Available in-store and online (delivery prices and times vary according to postcode - for me it worked out as £9 and would arrive in ten days' time, so picking them up in-store is a lot cheaper)
  • Add-on decorations sold separately (read below)

Optional add-on decorations. . .

£3 STRÅLA Decoration for lighting chain

The small print (add-ons):

  • Designs include snowflakes, holly & berries or what appear to be human hearts? (Pictured)
  • For £7 you can get a variety pack of designs
  • Annoyingly, the lights are available online but the add-ons are currently only available in-store.

Or. . .

£2 (was £3) 20 White Battery Operated LED lights from Sainsbury's

I couldn't not feature these as they're such a bargain but to this day I am still waiting to hear from Sainsbury's how long they're on offer and if they have.. err.. a better picture.

christmas lights

The small print:

  • Requires 3 x AA batteries (not included)
  • Indoor use only
  • Offer valid in-store and online for delivery before Thu 25 Dec
  • Not available in all stores so check before your visit
  • Orders below £40 have a £6.95 delivery cost, so would be best to combine this product with a big grocery shop (orders over £100 are delivered free, over £40 varies from £1-£6 according to slot time)
  • Stock is low so move fast!


£1 Christmas tree lights 20 pack from Poundland

These lights are ridiculously cheap so they're the perfect excuse to go totally overboard.

£1 christmas lights

The small print:

  • Available in-store only (check availability at your nearest Poundland)
  • Mains powered
  • 1.5m long


£10 Standing Penguin from BHS

To use some Mel B lingo, penguins are so on-point this year. This one is irresistibly cute.

penguin student discount

The small print:

  • He's 26.5cm tall
  • Available online and in-store
  • Student discount avilable online and in-store with valid NUS card - T&Cs here
  • Standard delivery £3.95, next or named day delivery £6.95

£8 Penguin Model Decoration from Tiger

This one is particularly real-looking. He's rubbery on the outside but also very squeezable.

The small print:

  • He's about 32cm tall
  • Available in-store only - find your nearest branch here


£1 Glitter Penguin Decoration from Tiger

Tiger is fast becoming our go-to store for all penguin-related goods.

The small print:

  • They're about 14cm tall
  • Available in-store only - find your nearest branch here


3 for £1, Smarties mini chocolate penguins from Sainsbury's

Look at the expression on this guy's face! It's as if he doesn't even know he's edible. Only 157 calories each might we add, which means you can get more minced pies and Baileys in closer to the big day.

chocolate penguins

The small print:

  • Chocolate penguin filled with Smarties
  • Ingredients and nutritional info can be found here
  • Offer valid in-store and online for delivery before 25/12/2014
  • Orders below £40 have a £6.95 delivery cost, so would be best to combine this product with a big grocery shop (orders over £100 are delivered free, over £40 varies from £1-£6 according to slot time)

If you are not planning on just eating chocolate penguins for Christmas lunch, then make sure you also check out our Christmas dinner deals