We got our Christmas tree up and decorated! For one evening, as I looked at our beautiful tree that sits in front of large windows that look out onto the mountains, I felt like I really had my life together. The feeling has passed, but the tree still looks really nice. This is our second Christmas here in this big house in the mountains, and truthfully, probably our last, as we have more changes ahead of us. But this house has a large, open floor plan and huge vaulted ceilings and large windows that look out onto the mountains. The main room would have just swallowed up an 8 foot tree! So, last year, I shopped the sales, used Ebates, and bought a big 12 foot pre-lit tree.

I sometimes miss the days of going out to cut down a real tree. That was one of our traditions as our children were growing up. We all enjoyed it so much and I have so many beautiful memories and pictures from those days. But then JBA started to have to be overseas more and more and it was left to me and what help our oldest son could offer at the time, to cut the tree and haul it home. I gave up the tradition after the year that, on our way home, I had to retrieve our fresh cut tree from the highway………..twice. Christmas trees are surprisingly resilient.

Having not been permanently assigned here yet, I didn’t have all of my Christmas ornaments from home. And even if I had them, they would scarcely have covered a third of this new giant tree. My own Christmas budget wouldn’t allow for going out and buying all new, lovely, specialty ornaments, so I needed to figure out how to decorate my new 12 foot tree, on a budget, without it looking like Charlie brown had some hand in it.

Much of the solution came from the Dollar Store. I decided that a rustic look would suit this house very well, and that was a design that seemed doable with the funds I had available. At the Dollar Store, I was able to pick up 5 sleeves of red and gold  ornaments. Each sleeve holding 10. they also had gold snowflakes and other types in packs of 10 each. I loaded up. We were able to get cardinals,doves and angels all at the Dollar Store and I spent less than $15. Then my daughter and I hit Wal-Mart. They had some lovely rustic ornaments as well as some small gold picture frames all for less than $1 each. I spent $12. Lastly, I purchased two large spools of ribbon from Amazon. A rustic looking plaid, wired ribbon that I used to tie small bows on the branches,( similar here). And a 3.5″ wide burlap ribbon,to use for garland, (similar here). The ribbon spools cost a little less than $25 total.

Christmas tree on a budget

This year, we were able to have our  special ornaments from home, so I was able to put the things that the kids have made over the years, their “First Christmas” baby ornaments and the ornaments that we have collected while traveling over the years. Its amazing how grounded those small things can make you feel. I really loved being able to add them back to our tree this year. It really made everything feel a little less temporal and more like “home”.

I love how it turned out! Not bad for starting from scratch and spending less than $50 to decorate a 12 foot tree!

Christmas tree on a budgetChristmas tree on a budget

Who knows where we will be putting up next years Christmas tree. I’m learning that it doesn’t really matter. No matter where I am, I can still share some of my traditions with those around me and more importantly, I can focus on the birth of Christ and all that it means to me and to my family. Truly, what a blessing.