How to decorate your house on the cheap this Christmas

From baggie baubles to takeaway menu paper chainz

alcohol bottles campus cheap cheerful Christmas christmas decorations drinking fresher freshers guild halls LGOS library Lights liverpool police smithdown stockings student students sydney jones sydney jones library tree uni university university of liverpool UoL wine xmas

Christmas has arrived and you can’t escape it.

There’s one week left of term. Deadlines have passed. They’ve set up some lego reindeer complete with fake snow in LiverpoolOne, the SJ have decorated their Christmas tree and the trashy grotto-dwellers of Smithdown have adorned their bay windows with lurid flashing Santa Claus lights. All you want is a festive student house to bring on the Christmas cheer  – but there’s a problem: your overdraft has hit the £2,000 mark.

Fear not, festive Liverpool students: The Tab is here to help. Here’s a selection of on-the-cheap, boss Christmas decorations that you can make, filling your soulless Crown Place flat or your mouldy Kensington hovel with jovial merriment and Christmas cheer. Merry Christmas, UoL.

Alcoholic’s Anonymous light display

Drunk in Love (Fake the date)

Strawpedo a couple of bottles of wine and peel off the labels. Cut the metal tops off and give the bottles a clean, unless you enjoy the smell of vinegared rosé wafting up your nostrils. Make sure you’re sober before you touch the scissors – we don’t want to be responsible for your trip to A&E. Pop to ASDA, pick up a few packs of their £2 micro LED battery powered fairy lights, paying with the change you found in the SJ vending machine, and shove the lights into the bottles. Put them on your shelf, invite your housemates to admire, and make sure you grab an Instagram. Job done.

Takeaway menu paper chainz

Fucking festive innit

Finally – a use for the foot tall pile of Pizza Lane menus next to the front door. Revert to primary school and get out your Pritt Stick (behave). Cut, loop and stick your way to Christmas happiness, and make those burger meal deals into paper chainz.  Go wild, go crazy – run to Chesters and ask for more menus, find that filthy rich international student on the floor below with a trust fund, re-friend them and order 100 dominoes to get the 100 menus stuck on the boxes. Make chainz at home, make chainz in the library – this is the ultimate cheap decoration. Who doesn’t want bits of paper with photos of pizza on it adorning your living room walls? This is beyond Christmas: this is a new fad, a house party decoration essential. Get the Chainz.

Reindeer and sleigh outdoor scene

Just chillin’

Again, marginally illegal – but when times get tough, you gotta do what you gotta do. Every student road has an ASDA trolley hanging round – position it  elegantly in your backyard, wrap some tinsel round the wire and tie the housemate everyone hates in a halter and paint his nose red. Christmas scene sorted. It’ll be like Banksy does Xmas. You could even charge people to come and have a look. Bonus points if you rock up in the sleigh to a Smithdown house party.

Baggie baubles


One for the Ket fiends and the dealers of Liverpool. There’s two options with this decorating idea. A) Keep the drugs in them, write the dates of the days left until Christmas, hope the Police don’t come round for a cuppa and start the best advert calendar since your Mum finally caved and bought you a chocolate one. That’s one hell of a coca-cola Christmas. B) Use empty baggies, fill them with glitter, and watch Bob Marley sparkle. This option is only for the girls who go to festivals looking like Lush bath bombs have exploded in their faces, thinking that NOS is a hard drug.

Santa’s dirty laundry – the stocking edition

Santa baby, I’ve lost my bra

This is way less suggestive than it sounds. I mean, if you want to hang your bondage-XXX-studded-bra up, then don’t let us stop you. But for the more demure Christmas reveler, find those dirty socks that have been under your bed since September and put them to some festive use. This might involve invading the housemate who got the nice room’s privacy, as you storm down the door and hang your Spongebob socks on the feature fireplace, but at least it’s revenge for stealing the big room.  You won’t get any presents in your festive student stocking, bar a dead slug who crawled in and couldn’t find his way out, but anything to cheer up the house, right?

Christmas dinner meal deal

Xmas happiness

Not strictly decoration. But one for all you library lovers. £3 for a Christmas meal: Boss. Dare to leave the library for 10 minutes and head over to the nearby Tesco Express. Bag yourself a chocolate and cherry with cinnamon bread sandwich (Yes, this really exists), a packet of ready salted (Red packaging, ok?) and a mini mince pie and live the dream of Christmas in a dingy corner of the SJ, crying over your revision notes on the Great Cat Massacre of the French Revolution with your feast spread out across the desk. If you’ve got cash to splash (and you will if you’re still in the library on the last week of term), buy yourself a mini bottle of red wine and a cinnamon stick, use it as a drinking implement, and enjoy the shittest mulled wine money can buy.

Ribbon christmas tree

So fucking sophisticated

One for all the classy Southern girls: use the ribbon that came wrapped around the Fortnum&Mason advent calendar your Mummy sent you from Richmond. Pin the golden threaded ribbon into something that resembles a christmas tree, add some cute bows if you fancy, and voilà – something to put your house secret santa presents under before the big day. It’s not the 12ft limited addition Norwegian Fir you’ll find in your hallway at home, but it’ll do for a week.  No point wrapping the secret santa gifts up either: we all know they’re Yankee candles in “Angel’s Wings” and “Fluffy Towels.”

Plastic bag tinsel 


Laugh off your lack of money by pretending plastic bags cost nothing to you (and watch your housemates weep when they see what you’ve done to the bulk stock of ASDA bags they’ve been collecting all term), and give your student home the #minimalist, #pale Christmas decorations every white girl dreams of.  Rip and twist your Aldi carrier bags into flammable garlands, and try not to smoke those menthol vogues too close to them. Simple, huh? Just don’t put them near any windows in case someone breaks in and steals your £200-worth plastic bag decoration.

Steal from the guild

They have so many they won’t even notice

Cheap as chips, unless they catch you. But the Guild seems to have spent half their budget on Christmas decorations this year, so it’s likely they won’t notice if something goes missing. As a member of the Guild of students, you are definitely righteous in your nicking. Start small with the cute light up table snowmen, but aim big with the courtyard Christmas tree – if Anderson catches you in the act, blame the #GuildWish campaign (“You didn’t fulfil my wish – that’s victimising straight, white males”) At least if you make the national papers, you can petition Downing Street to lower tuition fees, claiming it would slash local crimes rates.