Jingle all the way...
I know it can be quite expensive to get festive every year and we do struggle [a-lot] but this year I managed to get it all done quite on the low side of the budget and we're hanging in there and doing it in style, which is why I thought I might share with you how we did it and how you might like to do yours because it is NEVER too late!!
Over the last few years, we have had a small tree. It wasn't the prettiest of trees, but it wasn't the ugliest, either! It was maybe 4 or 5 feet tall and it looked pretty when we lit it up, the kids loved it and that is all that matters at the end of the day!
Anyway, this year, the tree had finally seen its best; the middle string of lights (pre-lit so a pain to remove) was out and for some reason I had forgotten to pack away all the ornaments correctly last year and a few of them perished and we needed a new start!
Not having any money, but not wanting to ruin the idea of the holiday for the kids, I was pleased as punch when my mother in law told us that she had a tree for us that she wasn't going to use! She had picked it up at the good will and it was in pristine condition but it was just too big for the space she wanted to use in the house this year, which meant it was ours if we'd like it! I LOVE IT!
The tree is HUGE! It is about 7 feet tall and big, bushy and wide! It looks like a real tree more-so than my old tree and it just seems a lot grander! It didn't come with lights though and it didn't come with any kind of decorations and so the tree was big, bold and BARE!
I started a quest for decorations and I knew that it wasn't going to be easy to afford but I looked through Craigslist and Freecycle before even considering going to the store to buy new! So many people have too many decorations and you will be surprised at how many people buy them new every year and just want to pass the old ones one - and so here we are, with the prospect of getting someone else's decorations and it gets better than you'd think!
I came across a lady on Freecycle who happened to have a "few" spare ornaments for the tree and so I said yes please! and she brought them on over! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the BAGS and BAGS of decorations she had brought over for us, I was in heaven and the children were just SO excited!!
We have bows on our walls/fireplace, an ornament for just about every section of the tree and small ornaments for a smaller tree and enough stand-alone ornaments and lights for a window display!!
The kindness and generosity of the lady on Freecycle was just amazing and she even threw in a couple of tree toppers and a singing Santa and a Santa gnome to be going along with!! I can't tell you how much that meant to me or my children and because of this one random act of kindness we have had our entire living room decorated for nothing and we have treasures in the tree that we can save and use again and pass along to the children when they are grown, too!
I later found out that some of the ornaments we were given are over 50 years old, which leads me to want to look after them even more and which really puts a smile on my face knowing that this lady entrusted them to our little family!
When it is dark and all of the lights are switched on, the tree looks magnificent and I know that the children are always in awe - this year my almost-3-year-old is thrilled with the idea of Christmas and so this one has been SO MUCH FUN sharing it with her in particular!! We even made salt dough ornaments for the tree and I would love to share them with you in another post!
For now! I just wanted to say that if you are struggling a little this Christmas, or any holiday, it never hurts to ask around - and subsequently, if you're thinking of replacing your decorations this year, how about asking around to see if anyone needs some before the old ones make their way to a landfill somewhere?! If you can recycle AND brighten up someone elses holiday then it can never be a bad thing!!
Whatever your troubles, hang in there, and do the best with what you have, and however you can - the kids will appreciate it no matter how it comes!