We started late this year as we weren't sure if we were going to be in town or not until almost mid-December. Now, I don't know much about buying trees or ornaments but I do know that the best time to buy this stuff is after Christmas, or very early in the season so you can shop for the best sales. As such, we had neither option open to us. The best price I could find for an artificial Christmas tree was at Sears which was 60% off a pre-lit 6 footer. But at $399 retail it was still going to be $160. We figured since we were going to be in town we could attend to a live one and I found a great deal at Ikea. $20 for a Fraser fir - and it came with a $20 coupon to use in January. Can't beat free right? Even if we don't get around to using the coupon, it's still a great deal.
The first thing we did was string LED lights. I have to say, this was probably the most frustrating part of the process. First of all, because I have no idea how to string lights (we relied on Dr. Google) and more importantly, brushing up against those needles was painful and sticky! Since I couldn't decide on blue or white we went with a combo. I think next year I'm going to stick to just white. Classic and simple. I couldn't decide on a tree topper so we got a silver star as well as a lighted Santa star to sit a little lower. (Tim hasn't bothered to adjust the star yet as you can see.)
Next came the garlands which I found bit hard to manage. I must say, there's a real art to it and I'm nowhere near mastering it! It looks ghastly here but I played around with it until I was happy with the end result (which came much later.)
Next up. A few of my "keepsake" ornaments. Then the filler items.
I approached the task of decorating the tree much like a fashionable woman would dress herself. Take an urban girl's wardrobe. It's all about hi-lo. The high: designer shoes and handbag, a good jacket, combined with the low - maybe a dress from Zara or H&M, necklace from Banana Republic, tights from Old Navy. In the case of both fashion and my foray into tree decorating, it's hard to tell the high from the low.
The tree toppers weren't expensive either. I bought a $22 silver star at Pier One but didn't like it as much as the $2 one I found at Dollarama (shown below). The lighted Santa star was $10 at Canadian Tire. I didn't think I would like it as much as I do.
The Santa (pictured below) was the priciest item. (A whopping $8 at Pier One.) I didn't want to add any red decorations but c'mon! It's Santa.
Furry woodland creature: $6 at Pier One, Glass snowman: $1 - Dollarama, Silver curlicue: $1 at Wal-Mart, Round snowman: $1 - Dollarama
Green and blue butterfly ball: $5 at Pier One, Smaller balls (far left ribbed blue: $1 - Dollarama, middle purple: $3.50 for 10, and far right blue bell: $5 for an assorted box of colours, Canadian Tire).
Handmade wooden snowman from Austria: $7 at Homesense, Gold drum: $1, set of three, Dollarama.
Reindeer and Snowman: $3 each, Canadian Tire
Reindeer (with scarf): $1, Dollarama. And even though I said I was going to eschew anything primarily red. when I saw the Cars ornaments (set of two for $1, Dollarama) I had to grab them. I hung both balls low on the tree which Chester immediately gravitated towards. He's been enjoying pulling them off and playing with them. Thankfully, both are plastic or I wouldn't have got them.
All in all, I think the decoration was a successful first attempt. Especially since I set out to do a hi-lo themed tree, but really ended up with decorations that were all on the "low" side. I'll be sure to look for nicer pieces on sale come Boxing Day. Now, if only I could get Tim to straighten that star!