How To: Be Festive on a Budget (including Christmas cookie and peppermint hot chocolate recipes!)

It is truly the most wonderful time of the year – at least in my opinion. Anyone that knows me knows very well that I am absolutely in love with Christmas, and, honestly, I’ve been listening to Christmas music since October #noshame.

However, I know that Christmastime is extremely expensive, especially when you count in presents, food, decorations, travel to family – the list goes on. So, I thought I’d make this post to share my tips on how to be extremely festive on a tiny budget – perfect for students!

  1. My first tip is to just go small – you don’t need a 10ft tree and a choir outside your house to make Christmas special. You have no idea the difference a cup of hot chocolate, a Christmas candle and a bit of tinsel can make to the atmosphere of your space. It is for this reason that I always suggest little decor if you can’t afford the huge stuff; this includes snow globes, mini trees, candles, garlands, fairy lights, etc. All of this stuff can be bought for super cheap at dollar stores or places like Kmart and Target.
    My mantle piece – Fairy lights $6, Stockings, $4, trees, $15 combined
    Morgan & Finch Tree – $30, Swarovski Reindeer – gift.

    Copper snowglobe on my bedside table (Kmart) – $5
  2. Never underestimate film and music, and its affect on your Christmas spirit! My favourite Christmas films are
    1. Love Actually
    2. The Holiday
    3. Elf
    4. The Santa Clause

In terms of music, I love my spotify playlist, which is the public Christmas playlist on my account: zoeninataylor. Here below is an idea of my favourite stuff – as you can probably see, I’m obsessed with the Pentatonix Christmas albums.

christmas spotify.PNG

3. Paint your nails in festive colours. If you want to treat yourself -after all, ’tis the season – go all out with a Shellac manicure. As you can see, I chose a lovely white with gold accents. If that is a little out of your range, you can always go with a DIY manicure, and some of my favourite festive shades are shown below.

Revlon – Red Carpet Red, Revlon – Sheer Honey, OPI – DS Opulence

4. Having an advent calendar is super exciting! Even if it’s a basic Dairy Milk one, my personal favourite, mind you, it’s always such a treat to wake up and have a treat waiting for you.

Cadbury Advent Calendar – $8

5. Baking Christmas stuff does not have to be expensive or difficult, and you don’t even have to buy festive cookie cutters if you have any skill with freehanding! Here is my favourite rolled Sugar Cookie recipe, but beware because it makes a HEAP.


Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups softened butter
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar together, then add the wet ingredients. Mix together before slowly adding the sifted dry ingredients. When all combined, cover with cling wrap and chill for at least an hour (overnight is perfect). After flouring a surface and the rolling pin, take the chilled dough out and roll between 1/4 inch & 1/2 inch thick. Cut out cookie shapes, and bake one inch apart for 6-8 minutes. Let completely cool before icing.


6. Vlogmas is legitimately one of my favourite things ever, and the fact that every single day I get at least an hour to spend watching my favourite YouTubers do fun Christmassy things is the quickest (and cheapest!) way to get me feeling all festive – as if I needed help with that one. My favourite vloggers this December are Zoella, Tanya Burr, Alisha Marie and Shaaanxo.


7. Having a warm drink is a lovely way to take some time out, even for my Southern Hemisphere buddies, I’m sure to have a lovely cup of tea at night, even though here in Australia it’s still like 35 C at night and I feel as if I’m going to die of heatstroke. Whatever though, it’s Christmas! As for my favourite hot beverages, I love an English Breakfast tea, peppermint tea, or a hot chocolate. My favourite is white chocolate peppermint hot chocolate, and it’s such a treat. Also, I love collecting Christmas mugs, and these are so cute and cheap as anything!

Copper Mug (Kmart) – $6, Reindeer Mug (Dollar Shop) – $2.50

Peppermint White Hot Chocolate Recipe:

Melt 1/2 cup of white chocolate drops in a saucepan of milk, with 3 drops of peppermint essence till everything is combined and warm. Transfer to mug, and top with whipped cream and crushed candy cane.

Me watching vlogmas with a cup of tea in a Christmas mug…. me every day until the 25th.

I wish you all the best holiday season and hope these tips are helpful! Love you guys so much – forever grateful for your constant support.

Come and say hi on my instagram, twitter, tumblr and snapchat (zoatron).

Zoe x

How To: Be Festive on a Budget (including Christmas cookie and peppermint hot chocolate recipes!)

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