Putting up the tree

On Sunday, my husband and I put up our little Christmas tree. First, I got all the necessary boxes out of the basement.

This is what the tree looks like in the box. We bought this tree back in 2005 for a steal. That makes this year the fifth year we’re using this tree.

We originally bought this tree when money was tight. Every year I think I might want a real tree instead, but I always change my mind and just set this one up. Real trees in Portland start at $40 for something fairly small and go up to over $200. This little cutie was less than $20. Over 5 years, that’s less than $4 a year for a tree.

After the tree was assembled, it was time for the lights. I almost purchased a few packs of LED lights several weeks ago, but I didn’t so I used the white lights we already had.

I think the lights are on their last leg, however, so this may be their final year. Many of the bulbs are burnt out and the wires are becoming un-twisted, so things were starting to get a little dicey while I tried to get everything to look nice.

Then, we got all the ornaments out. Our dog carefully examines the ornaments, but he knows he’s not allowed to play with them (even though he really wants to).

See those little mitten cards hiding in the box on the lower left corner in the above photo? I bought them last year at an after-Christmas sale. When I noticed them, I realized that I had completely forgotten about them, and I shouldn’t have bought those cards at Target a few weeks ago. I already had these.

Those blueish ornaments in the lower right are a relic from one of my and my husband’s early Christmases together. We made them with clear glass bulbs by removing the tops, swirling paint around inside, covering the tops with glue and glitter, and putting it all back together again. Here’s a closer peek:

I’m always really happy with how this tree turns out. We usually don’t even bother with garland. We just keep it simple with lights and ornaments.

I’m feeling pretty good about not having spent any money on Christmas decorations at all this year. Since we used our same tree, had plenty of ornaments, and didn’t need new lights, we spent $0 decorating so far.

In a future post, I’ll write more about our collection of ornaments–where they are from and how we’ve accumulated so many–and share some tips for growing an eclectic mix over time.

Have you done any holiday decorating yet? Do you have any money-saving decorating tricks?

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