Our Family Christmas Tree 2018: Budget Tree Farm + Decor

Yesterday we managed to find an amazing local Christmas tree farm that was budget friendly, and had such a fun experience there. We also decorated our family Christmas tree, and I’ll give a few tips for budget decor and some things we did.

the tree farm

In our area, most tree farms are closed on Sunday, but since we didn’t want to put off another week I found one off Craigslist. And I’m SO glad I did! This farm was adorable and is a hobby farm for the family. Let’s just pause there for a second. This family is in a place where they can own a Christmas Tree farm as a hobby. To help other families enjoy the fun of celebrating the season. How amazing is that?! One worker even told my husband that a buyer had offered to buy every tree this year for significantly more than they sell each tree for, and the owner refused. That seriously makes me choke up because Riley, our 3 year old had so much fun! Budget wise, this place was great, it was $40 for any size tree. Even if you found a 15ft one! Ours was 11ft. Last year we paid about double that. Again, because this is the family’s hobby, they can operate low cost. Amazing.

The tree farm also had an adorable hot cocoa, coffee, and cookie area that was complimentary. They had some cute ceramic mugs for sale for $5 each and one was too cute to pass up. Plus, two of the guys there were “working for tuition” so we tipped them $10. So overall, we spent $55 and had a lovely time. If you are in Michigan, feel free to email me and I’ll give you some more info on the farm.

decorating + tips

this year I wanted to keep the house fairly neutral with Christmas decor, lots of green, white, and navy (which is the main color in our decor during the rest of the year).  That theme is what helped with the tree. This meant using white lights. Last year my husband made a big deal about using multicolored lights and I conceded, but this year I had a vision and nothing is cozier to me than the glow of soft white lights peeking through the branches. 

We also went too big with the tree and had leftover clippings, so I made a garland for our entry railing. Totally “free!”

keep it simple

One main “theme set” + the special ornaments is a recipe for a beautiful tree. We don’t want our tree to look overly curated like it’s out of a magazine, but we also don’t want it to be just a bunch of mismatched ornaments either. The middle ground we found was to have one main set of simple, shatterproof ornaments as the “base layer” then fill in with our personal ornaments. Our large base layer set came from Meijer (a Midwest store that’s like if Walmart & Target had a baby), but this set from Target is similar. Thankfully, our fuzzy white tree skirt fit the theme perfectly. Ours is from HomeGoods, but this one from Walmart is much less expensive. 

fragile up high

With a three year old, a puppy, and a baby….I’m nervous about our tree. But the main thing I do is put the glass ornaments out of reach. The shatterproof ornament “base layer” is essential here because they give the cohesive look. Then, when you add in the fun ornaments it keeps the family Christmas tree from looking fussy.

We have a lot of fragile ornaments because my grandmother loved Lenox. I have several Disney Lenox ornaments from her that were given to me throughout my childhood, as well as a few that I received from her collection when she passed away. 

ideas for low ornaments

Okay so maybe it’s obvious to put fragile ornaments up high….but what about down within the kid’s or pet’s reach? I found some cute fabric ornaments at Dollar Tree (you can see the Santa Stocking in the picture), and wood ornaments. Target also has a great selection of fabric ornaments.  We got a few last year after New Year’s. If you can hold off that long for future years, you’ll get amazing discounts (by New Year’s you will often find 85-90% off, just a very picked-over selection!)

don't feel obligated to have tons of ornaments

By many people’s standards, our tree is probably quite plain. But I really don’t care. We get to see each special ornament well and appreciate the tree itself. The lights are simple, and the simplicity of our tree really adds to the cozy feel. The only thing I wish we had was a lit tree topper. I got a snowflake topper from HomeGoods but I’d love a lit star. But this goes for anyone, don’t feel like you need more ornaments just to have a more filled tree. Use larger ornaments to fill in gaps (see those strategically placed skis? now you do!). Use ornaments that make you happy and give your home whatever feeling you want this time of year. Happy Holidays!

…if you need me, I’ll be on my couch from now until New Year’s in some cozy pajamas. 

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Hi, my name is Rachel Smith. I’m a personal finance nerd,  Aldi connoissuer, book lover, yoga enthusiast, and budgeting wiz. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska but currently call Michigan home. I want to help people with their finances and eating healthy on a tight budget (no matter what your cost-of-living area is!)



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