Last week, I invited you on a tour of our home all decked out and ready for Christmas. I love this time of year and like to put up decorations early so I can enjoy them throughout the season.
Today, I want to talk about Christmas trees, and specifically about creating beautifully decorated trees without breaking the bank. I want to provide tips for those who are newly married and haven’t built up a collection of Christmas decor yet as well as those who want to refresh their Christmas tree look. Either way, these tips are for you! Here are a few ways I have helped to decorate our home by finding inexpensive options that make a big difference.
1. You don’t need an expensive tree to make it pretty.
My allergies would never forgive me for using a real tree so I have only ever used artificial trees. I love that they can be used year after year. I have four Christmas trees up this year, ranging in height from 4 – 7 feet. The trees ranged in price from $20 – $65 and all are pre-lit (which I highly recommend for sanity’s sake). The width and quality of the trees varies widely, but it is easy to find trees inexpensively nowadays with the variety of sales and coupons available. Trees can vary widely in price due to the number of branch tips and lights that they have as well as the overall construction, but it can be difficult for the budget of many to spend $300 or more on a Christmas tree, especially when you include the cost of decorations. You can absolutely make a cheap tree look beautiful and keep from breaking your budget.
If you are wanting to invest in a nicer tree, watch for after-Christmas clearance or Black Friday deals. We did invest in two nice trees this year (that I am not putting up until next year, because I had already decorated for Christmas) on Black Friday. We were able to get two 7.5 foot LED-lit trees that can change between white and colored lights. They were on sale at The Home Depot for $79. We used a 10% off Lowe’s coupon (both stores accept competitor’s coupons) and were able to get both trees for $150.
2. You can fake a tall tree.
Our house has nine-foot ceilings, but my largest tree was only 6 feet tall (my 7-feet trees are pencil trees so they still look small). To add height, I wrapped a large box in Christmas wrapping paper and set the tree on top. This added nearly a foot of height. Once a star-topper was added, the tree appears to be nearly 8-feet tall. When choosing a box, make sure to use a very sturdy box with all seams taped together for stability and you can even include another box inside for added stability. The box needs to be able to support the weight of a fully-decorated tree.
3. Ribbon makes a world of difference.
I am a huge proponent of using ribbon to decorate a tree for several reasons. Ribbon is an inexpensive way to cover a lot of real estate, which means fewer ornaments required. Change the ribbon and you can completely change the look of a tree. I don’t always use the same ribbon from year to year. I have in the past used purple and gold, while this year, I am using red and burlap/linen ribbon. I have even double-wrapped two of my trees this year using two different ribbons, to tie all of the decor together. A matching bow can also be used as a tree-topper. Ribbon is definitely my favorite choice for tree trimming.
Craft stores such as Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s and A.C. Moore, are great places to find deals on ribbon because they often run sales of 50% off, or have a coupon for 40-50% off. I especially love it when Michael’s has their coupon for 20-25% off all items INCLUDING sale items. This year, I found some of the ribbon I used at Costco. They had very large rolls of 50 yards and were less than $10 each. I like the large rolls because then I have ribbon left for gift wrapping. Always check how much ribbon you are getting for your price because ribbon rolls vary widely. Some may only have 20 feet while others have 150 feet. If you are wrapping a tree, a 25-foot roll wouldn’t be nearly enough.
P.S. Avoid ribbon with glitter! It will shed its good EVERYWHERE! I speak from experience! If you want sparkle, look for ribbon woven with shiny thread.
4. Purchase inexpensive packs of multiple ornaments.
Growing up, I loved the collection of ornaments my mom had. Each year, my mom would buy an ornament for my brother and I to add to the collection, and the ornaments came to have so much meaning and so many memories attached to them. If you had a similar childhood experience, starting out with your own Christmas tree can make you want to invest in having just as many beautiful, meaningful ornaments as when you grew up, but that collection was built over many years. Rather than spending so much money buying ornaments early on in your adult life, purchase inexpensive multi-packs that can fill space and allow yourself to purchase only a few meaningful ornaments each year.
I have bought multi-packs of icicle ornaments, angels, joy ornaments, and ball ornaments, often for less than $2 per pack for as many as 12 ornaments. These can still create a beautiful tree without a large expense and can be replaced by better ornaments as you collect them through the years. Pinterest is also a great place to find ornament crafts that you can make without investing much money.
5. Draped fabric makes a beautiful tree skirt.
One decoration I was completely lacking was tree skirts. I didn’t want the stands showing, but when I looked at skirts, they were often $20-40. That was too much for me, especially when I am decorating with several trees. Instead, I bought fabric from the clearance section. I used roughly a yard and a half for each tree base. This year, I bought cream-colored lace for $1/yard and a solid red fabric for $1.50/yard. When choosing a fabric, look for thinner or softer fabrics that will drape well, as opposed to thick or stiff fabrics.
6. Think outside the box with decorations.
You can decorate a tree with more than just wrapping with ribbon and hanging ornaments. In the past, I have tucked small stuffed animals into the branches. I have large metal signs with the words “Noel” and “Glory” hanging on the tree. You can make garland out of a single chain of crochet, by tying strips of scrap fabric to a string or thin ribbon, or by gluing pom-poms on a string. You can tie several small bows on the tree with ribbon. You can create a unique tree by using what you already have without having to buy expensive decorations.
I hope these tips will help you take avoid the stress of breaking the budget while still achieving a beautiful tree that you can enjoy as a reminder of the wonderful season. My last tip would be:
7. If it causes you more stress, don’t decorate!
If trimming a tree causes more stress for you, don’t do it. This season is dedicated to the joy of celebrating Christ’s birth, and if decorating is going to detract from that, don’t do it! Your time may be limited through work or family or life in general. You can enjoy looking at the decorations of others if it’s something you like but don’t have time for now.