Decorating a Christmas tree is one of my most favorite things.  I love them so much, I wish I could keep it up year round.  Creating a beautiful tree takes a little bit of practice, but doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars in designer ornaments or first-class trees.  I thought you all might enjoy taking a peek at my Christmas trees (yes, two, and I’ll explain why) and also some tips on how I create a beautiful tree without breaking the bank.

Both of my trees were handed down to me by family.  Neither is pre-lit, and one of them always leans.  No matter though, they have a great look to them and I don’t mind the time of hanging the lights myself.

Our first is our little kitchen tree.  It’s a normal height, but skinny, and it’s the leaner.

For many years this was our only tree.  It was handed down along with a big box of ornaments and decorations, some of which still hang on the tree.  Most of the ornaments though are ones my children have made.  If you have small children, you know come Christmas time they come home from everywhere–church, school, friend’s houses, camps, etc–with hand-made ornaments.  This little tree is a great place to display them all.

Because its “their” tree my boys hang the ornaments by themselves.  This fun elf from my childhood takes up residence there once the decorations are done.

If you are feeling overrun with hand-made ornaments, consider having a smaller, second tree that can be filled with those treasures.

And then, there is MY tree . . .

As the only woman in a house of 4 boys, I have to fight to preserve “pretty” places.  This tree is one of those.  I am in charge of this tree, and it is where I get to display my pretty decorations

This tree was also a hand-me down and also is not pre-lit.  I light it with both clear and red lights and have a silver, red, and green theme with the decorations.

This tree is obviously fuller than our skinny tree, but it still wasn’t tall enough to fill up the two-story ceilings in our living room.  So, I’ll share with you my secret–

It sits on top of a cooler! And, I refuse to pay over a $100 for a tree skirt, so for both of my trees I purchased red fabric and just drape it around the base. It works perfectly fine and doesn’t even require sewing.  The draped fabric camouflages the lines of the cooler, and as presents pile up under the tree nobody  ever notices that it’s propped up.

I have collected my ornaments over the years and they are almost exclusively purchased from Hobby Lobby.  A few boxes I bought for $.99 or under after Christmas at Target.  I also embellish the tree with inexpensive floral sprays from Hobby Lobby. I pull them apart and stuff pieces of them in the branches.

On top of our staple of red, silver, and green ornaments, I add each year an ornament for each of my kids, again, mostly purchased at Hobby Lobby.  When they are adults and have a tree of their own, I will give them their collected ornaments.

Also, if we take any trips I try to grab an ornament from our destination.  This one is from a trip my husband and I took to the Boston area before we have kids.

Isn’t he cute?

I also use floral sprays for the topper instead of a traditional star.  They are just stuck up in the top and spread out to balance the shape of the tree.

This year I added three of my new vintage postcard glitter banners.  These I made on my computer, printed of myself, and embellished with glittered edges and pretty ribbon.  I love what they add to the tree.

Even though this is “my pretty tree”, my little ones still enjoy spotting their ornaments on it.

Gotta love that nap hair!

It continues to evolve each year as I find new things to add.  In any given year though, I generally don’t spend over $10 in tree decor.  It’s possible to have a beautiful tree on a small budget, you just have to make smart moves and get creative.

Be on the lookout for family members who are “upgrading” their trees and may have an old one to pass along. Garage sales are also great places to find trees.  And you can find beautiful ornaments for a fraction of departments store costs at places like Hobby Lobby, Target, or even Wal-Mart.  Try making some of your own decorations, like my glittered banners.  And remember, if you’re just starting out, be patient to collect beautiful things for your tree over the years.

Merry Christmas to you and enjoy your Tree(s)!

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