Five ways to save money while socialising this Christmas

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Don't let your bank balance stop you enjoying the festivities!

Whether you’ve already lost your cash to the sales, or you’re stashing away savings, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get into the festive spirit. Here are five ways to have a cheap (and charitable) Christmas.

1. Deck the halls

If you’re the type of person who unashamedly owns Mariah Carey’s 'Greatest hits' and knows all the words to The First Noel, why not put your rare talent to good use and lead your friends in a bout of Christmas carolling? You could offer to sing at your local community centre or town square (and raise money in the process), or invite friends around for a singalong at home.

The great thing about Christmas songs is that you don’t need Mariah’s range to make them sound half-decent, and if you’re really, really terrible, people may even pay you to be quiet. Your chosen charity will thank you, even if no one else will.

2. Burn off the pud

Not even the big day yet and wondering where you put all the pudding? Why not do something selfless to warm the cockles this year, and organise your nearest and dearest to play football in aid of your chosen festive charitable cause? You can show off your sports prowess, and put the money raised towards housing and feeding the homeless on Christmas Day. For those less inclined to get dirty, you can get bone-tinglingly clean and jump in the pool at lidos across the country at the Crisis Midwinter Swim, and get cold for a good cause.

3. Lights, camera, action

Festive films have it all – the predictable romantic stories, conclusions that wrap up every issue in a neat little bow, tearful scenes and, of course, more clichés than you can throw a stick at. But this year, instead of turning to old favourites like Home Alone and Elf, why not organise a Christmas movie marathon that features a cult classic from every decade? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Forties: Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life
Fifties: Scrooge
Sixties: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Seventies: The House Without a Christmas Tree
Eighties: Gremlins, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Nineties: A Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Frost

4. Light ‘em up

Sometimes Christmas feels pretty mercenary, what with all the gifts that need to be bought. Luckily, there are some time-rich folks out there with more than presents on their minds, and every year they deck the city’s halls with thousands of twinkly lights. So take a break from debating whether mum really wants a toaster, and take a lights tour of your city!

5. Say cheers

Think photos with Santa are just for little kids? Revisit the idea of the cheesy holiday snap with your gang, but this year challenge your mates to an ugliest Christmas jumper contest in the process. There's nothing more gut-wrenchingly hilarious than seeing your friends decked out in their cheeriest of duds, and you'll have a great series of snaps to look back on when you all embark on your adventures in the New Year.