The Christmas season can be a lot of fun – a time to relax and unwind with family and friends. But Christmas can be an expensive time too. Polytunnel gardeners have a head start when it comes to keeping the costs down at Christmas. Growing your own food is one of the very best ways to keep your Christmas food bill down – and keep your food bills down throughout the year. Let’s take a look at what you could be growing for your Christmas dinner, before examining some other ways to cut costs and stay within budget over the festive season.
Grow At Least Some of Your Own Christmas Food
Though, of course, it is far too late now to start growing anything for your Christmas dinner this year, keen polytunnel gardeners around the UK could be harvesting fresh Christmas potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, onions and more for their festive meals. You could join them next year. Check out our handy grow guides and other articles on this site to find out more about how you can plan to feed your family for Christmas, and throughout the year.
Think Quality Not Quantity
Whether we are talking about growing your own, or buying in your Christmas food, it can help to keep your Christmas food bill down if you think about prioritising quality over quantity. Rather than buying bulk, low quality meat and vegetables, consider spending a little more for something of superior quality. Though buying a lovely, free-range turkey, for example, or some organic veg, can be more expensive – you will get much more value for money. A delicious, special meal with slightly smaller portions will cost the same, but be far more satisfying that stuffing your faces with inferior grub. Eat less, but eat better and you will feel more satisfied and be less likely to spend and indulge in unnecessary extra purchases to keep yourselves happy.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Planning is key to success in gardening and the same is true when it comes to keeping your Christmas food bill to a minimum. Before you hit the shops, make a careful list – and stick to it. Impulse buys can quickly see the costs mount up.
Plan For Multiple Meals, Not Just One At A Time
When you are planning and making your shopping lists, try not to make it all about one or two special meals. Your Christmas dinner is just one of many meals to make over the festive season. Try to think about buying for multiple meals at the same time, not just for one. This will not only help reduce costs, it can also help to reduce waste and there will just be a few bits and pieces to pop on the compost heap.
Make Full Use of Leftovers
When you have a big meal like Christmas dinner, there are almost certain to be leftovers. Make sure you use leftover polytunnel grown vegetables, turkey or other ingredients to make more delicious meals to enjoy over the days to come.
Share your own money saving tips for Christmas in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.