Even the most ardent Christmas fan can sometimes find the frenzy and expense of getting ready for the holiday leaves little time or money to decorate the house.
But, if the full-on winter wonderland interiors beloved by celebrities and glossy magazines are out of reach, it doesn't mean you can't display some festive flair. A few clever touches, from a wreath to lights, are often all it takes to conjure seasonal style, and if you follow the 'less is more rule' there's the bonus of having less to pack away at the end of the holiday.
"I use strings of inexpensive fairy lights to bring a sparkle to rooms," says designer-maker Lou Rota (www.lourota.com).
"Hang them over mirrors and you'll double their effect, or cluster them inside clear-coloured glass vases."
Raid the garden, she suggests, for free decor materials. "Think of the nature table from your schooldays and those collections of twigs and leaves. Work on the same principle and collect bendy twigs when you're out for a walk, twist them into loose wreaths and wind ivy around them, either artificial or real."
Baubles needn't be confined to Christmas trees - they can also look pretty hung on coloured ribbon and displayed in clusters on mirrors, windows or stair bannisters.
Be inspired by these easy-peasy decorative ideas for the home that won't bust the budget.
Get ready for Santa's visit (and keep the kids busy) by making your own decorative gift stocking.
What you need: Craft Factory acrylic glitter felt, 66p for a 23cm x 30cm piece, needle, embroidery thread, fabric glue, embellishments such as an Alpine bell ornament, £1.49, and creative charms and stars embellishments, £2.49 a pack, or simply a selection of buttons and beads. All materials from Dunelm Mill (0845 165 6565/www.dunelm-mill.com).
Method: Cut the felt into two stockings with pinking shears. Cut out a square piece of felt the same length as the top of your stocking in a contrasting colour, then lay it on top of one of the stockings and attach by using a simple running stitch, 1cm in from the edge, in red or white thread.
Decorate the top of the stocking by sewing or glueing on a selection of different embellishments to personalise. Join your stocking by stitching both pieces together, finishing off by sewing on some ribbon for a hanging loop.
If that's got the creative juices flowing, carry on crafting. Cargo's Make Your Own Christmas Decorations kit, £2.88, and features three red felt tree ornaments. (0844 848 3300/www.cargohomeshop.com)
Reindeers rule this season and just the sight of Rudolph and his mates should put you fashionably in the mood for the festivities.
Cargo's funky selection includes a Glitter Deer Head, £12.24, available in a variety of colours, or smaller Glittered Reindeers, in pink, green, blue or purple, £4.32 each. (0844 848 3300/www.cargohomeshop.com)
For cool Scandi style, visit Habitat which has white reindeers. Woodie, a plywood stag room decoration, £12.50, and chunky Dash the reindeer, £7.50, would work well in tandem. Team them with Habitat's silver and white Anngarsk wreath, £12.50. (0844 499 1111/www.habitat.co.uk)
Miniature illuminated houses are a Christmas decoration must-have, whether they're Advent houses or metal lanterns shaped like townhouses.
Conjure your own picturesque hamlet with a battery-operated LED wooden double spire church, £15, and a matching wooden village train, £20, both from John Lewis. (0845 6049 049/www.johnlewis.com)
Christmas cards clutter surfaces and while it's effective to peg them on to colour ribbon and hang them up, a card tree is a more novel way of showing them off.
Collect your own branches and spray with gold or silver paint or snap up B&Q's LED lit twig bundle, £10, available from selected stores, and arrange in a large planter or bowl, filled with florists' oasis or sand. Peg on cards and tiny decorations for a festive feature. (0845 850 0175/www.diy.com)
Smooching under the mistletoe is a lovely Christmas tradition but there's no need to spend time searching for an elusive branch. Hang a felt mistletoe branch, £29 from Indigo and Rose, and welcome visitors with a kiss (they're free after all!). (01924 242 799/www.indigoandrose.co.uk)
There's nothing more traditional than gathering around a cosy fire, and if the mantelpiece is well decorated it will be a beautiful focal point.
"The secret to successful decorating for Christmas is not overdoing it," says Henry Masterton, sales director at Chesney's, specialists in fireplaces, stoves and fireplace accessories. "Some like to adorn a mantle with ribbons, a wreath and shimmering decorations, but perhaps as a change opt for a single garland accompanied by a group of candles dotted around the hearth.
"That way your surround will be illuminated and the whole room is kept warm and cosy and will look magical with flickering candlelight."
He advises adding a rustic log basket and metallic gold fire tools to add light-catching character to a surround. (020 7627 1410/www.chesneys.co.uk)
B&Q's decorated garlands start from £3 and LED-lit garlands start from £9. (0845 850 0175/www.diy.com)
Revamp an old tablecloth and mis-matched napkins by dip-dyeing them using Dylon machine and hand dyes, and continue the colour theme for the room by also dyeing some cushion covers.
Dylon products - machine dyes, £6.06, and hand dyes, £3.11 - are available in high street stores including John Lewis, Robert Dyas and Wilkinson. (www.dylon.co.uk)
Make a statement with your dining table by hanging a large branch above it. Ensure it's secured safely with picture wire and picture hooks, then spray it gold or silver and decorate with tree baubles.
Alternatively, The White Company has a two-tiered hanging tealight holder, £55, which can be decorated with its ivy garland, £25, (you will need two) and illuminated with a pack of battery tealights, £12. (0844 736 4222/www.thewhitecompany.com)
Deck the walls
No room for a towering tree? In the spirit of the festive season, designer Deborah Bowness has created an ingenious and beautiful Alpine alternative - the Wallpaper Christmas Tree!
It looks as though it's been plucked from a forest and could be displayed all year round.
A hand-made tree wallpaper panel, £195, in her signature trompe l'oeil with a twist style, measures 84cm wide and 200cm high and can be pasted on a board. With the addition of hooks, baubles can hung for seasonal decoration.
To arrive by Christmas, trees should be ordered before December 20. (www.deborahbowness.com/shop/special-editions)
Don't dream of a white Christmas, make it happen by displaying snowflake fans, from £6 each, from Petraboase. (01760 337 333/www.petraboase.com)
Finally, pop a wreath on the front door and one inside for an instant festive colour hit. Cargo's berry heart wreath, £10.80, or a natural red berry rattan wreath, £10.08, are both simple but stunning. (0844 848 3300/www.cargohomeshop.com)
Please note: All prices correct at time of transmission