Cheapass Christmass Part 3: The Tree
First off, I realize there are some purists out there that love a real tree and the act of going out with their family to some snowy Christmas tree lot (or farm) to pick the right tree. Therefore, this method might not be up your alley.
When we were living in Lansing we always made our pilgrimage to a tree lot to purchase a real tree.
We did this mainly because a fake tree would have been very difficult to store. Extremely difficult to store.
However this year, we (read: I!) decided to go the fake route.
Why? Quite honestly, a real tree just won’t feel the same down here. I have heard that they allegedly have Christmas tree farms down here. Somehow I picture a big dusty field with a few green firs poking up, sagebrush threatening to overtake the field, and tumbleweeds rolling by. Of course the weather plays a factor in our decision this year too. Can you imagine going to pick out your tree wearing shorts and flip flops? Blasphemy I say!
So I hatched an idea to actually make our Christmas tree this year.
Back before I had Chunky, I watched a lot of the Home and Garden Channel. I think after you have kids, you realize that your dreams of having an stylishly decorated house vanish. Christmas time was always the best time to watch this channel. On a tangent, when I was shopping at the world's largest Christmas store in Frankenmuth one February, I noticed these HGTV "celebrities" shopping there as well.
On one of their Christmas shows--some show that I can’t remember the name of now, (Design on a Dime? Room by Room?) they made this really funk-a-licious hoop skirt Christmas tree that hung from the ceiling.
It was just a series of graduated hoops covered with a white glitzy garland, attached together, and then hung.
Aside from being white and glitzy, it was pretty darn cool.
So after much showering and pondering on how to make my own Christmas tree it came to me.
Behold the materials:
Here we have a six-foot pre-lit spiral tree decoration (you mainly see these in front yards, but they are made for indoor or outdoor use); fake pine garland; and twisty ties (I’m not sure what their real name is but they’re like those flex-cuffs rent-a-cops use and you can find them in the floral department of a craft store).
After assembling the tree I got to work. I took the pine garland and lined the spiral of the tree attaching it with the twisty ties.
It took approximately 38 feet of pine garland. I ended up buying 3 packages of 18’ of garland. After tree assembly I had a good 16 feet of pine garland left. I’ll show you what I did with that at the end of this post.
Here's a picture of the tree with one garland wrapped and secured:
After attaching all the garland, we trimmed the twistie tie things and Chunky and I decorated the tree.
And ta-da, we were done.
Note that the star is another ghetto Bezzie original They only sell stupid angels for trees anymore it seems. I was raised with a star tree top and I'm not about to sodomize an angel. That's bad ju-ju.
Yes, I know, it’s a tad, um, barren. However, I really enjoy it. It’s a cone shape, it’s green, and it has lights and decorations.
Plus it provides a great place for Squeaky to chill out.
Final price breakdown:
Twistie Ties: $0.99
Pine Garland: $8.45
Total Remaining Of $250.00 Budget Goal: $208.80*
*This total was arrived at by using the final total of budget money left after Cheapass Christmas Week 1.
What would a real tree have cost us if we had continued the real tree tradition? Anywhere from $43-45 before tax. I’ve yet to see a fake Christmas tree in a store for under $50.
So we saved anywhere from approximately $16 to $19 The best part? This tree collapses flat each year. Much easier to store than a real store-bought fake tree.
Tip of the week: Like many people have said—sometimes you have to change your expectations. Don’t get me wrong, I would love a nice full, luscious real tree, but for this year, this tree will do. Even if we don’t use it again next year, it doubles as an outdoor decoration.
Another great place to find a Christmas tree if you're not crafty enough to make one yourself--Freecycle. I can't tell you how many Christmas trees I've seen people post on there. Thing is you have to think Christmas in July. Most people get rid of theirs when they move or do spring cleaning.
As a postscript, I researched what a box of non-personalized Christmas cards would cost on hallmark.com: $22.00. Yeouch. Again, you can find them for cheapy cheap at Walmart but those ones look kind of cheap. Even cheaper than my handmade ones. I won’t tell you who’s ex-boss used to make her send out hundreds of Christmas cards on her behalf every year and she would buy the cheapest looking ones she could find at Walmart and sign said boss’s name to them—muhahahahaha!
Oh! And I almost forgot! Here's what I did with the extra 16 feet of pine garland I had leftover:
I took a strand of white lights I found in my Christmas boxes and fake misletoe and rigged up my headboard. Pretty cool huh? Looks like something you might see on HGTV. Ha!