Free Christmas Tree
Buying Christmas decorations at 80% off a day or two after the holiday itself and packing them away for the next year is one of my favorite things to do, but I wasn't such a good Christmas hoarder last year! I opened up my Christmas tub this year to find a few ornaments and lights, but not a whole lot more.
So, with a tight newlywed budget and an urge to decorate, here are some solutions I've come up with for getting your holiday fix for a small amount of money.
Thrift around. The day after Thanksgiving, many thrift stores put out their Christmas supplies for the year. My mom got a new-to-her tree this year from a local Goodwill. It's a nine foot tree and it was a grand total of...$6.99. No joke. Right now in a retail store, you can't buy a 1-foot tree for less than $20! Check thrift stores first.
Use social media. My mom asked around online (using Facebook, I believe) and found a tree for me! A teacher and family-friend of mine, Mrs. Langford bought herself a new tree on Black Friday. She now had nowhere to put her old one! So, when I went to my hometown to visit, I got to bring back her old tree and put it in my living room. She actually left the garland and colorful lights on the tree too. It was quite the perfect free tree!
Fake height. My apartment's ceilings are a lot taller than anywhere else I've lived. So, even though a 7-foot tree is giant to my 5'2" self, it looks a bit puny in a room with ceilings over ten feet. Since I was blessed with a free tree, I couldn't be picky about height. How did I fix this problem? Raise and hide. Using a storage bin from my closet, I was able to raise the tree by almost a foot and a half. Then, I used the wrapped gifts to stack and hide my little trick. All the more incentive to buy and wrap gifts early!
Check Dollar Tree FIRST! Not only for ornaments, but really just for everything in life (words to live by!) Anyway, I got some great filler sparkle balls from there. The smaller ones were in packages 18/$1.00 and a bit larger ones were 12/$1.00. Will these balls make it through the next 3+ Christmases? Surprisingly, probably so! They're made out of hard plastic and they seem pretty indestructible to me.
Hobby Lobby sales. I did splurge on a couple of boxes of ornaments this year. And by "splurge" I mean waited until Hobby Lobby items were 50% off. Pretty much every week after mid-November, Hobby Lobby puts all Christmas items on sale. I got two boxes for the price of one, $6.99.
Using scrapbook pages, staples and tissue paper I made some of my own ornaments to spruce up our tree. I bought a few color-coordinating supplies (golds, navy, sparkles) and got to work. The easiest and most beautiful ways to make handmade pieces are tassels and hearts.
Buy lights after Christmas, for next year. They will be at least half off on the 26th (more and more in the weeks after) and they will last for years. I've had the same white lights for 3 years now and I just pack them away in the same cardboard box after the decorations come down. Same goes for my tree-topper: purchased years ago in an after-Christmas sale.
Like, I said before, Mrs. Langford was completely awesome and left her garland on the tree she gave me. So, I kind-of didn't pay anything for mine. However, I'll have to suggest going back to the Dollar Tree for this one. I bought some for my mantle (aka: entertainment center) for only $2.00.
All-in-all I spent around $10 on my tree this year. When you need to buy the gifts to put under those trees, $10 seems like a perfect reasonable price to pay for the centerpiece of your holiday home.