Decorating for Christmas is a frugal affair around here. We just string a few bits of tinsel on Frugal Hound’s tail and call it a day. NOT! Mr. Frugalwoods and I are ardent devotees of Christmas and decking our frugal halls* is a momentous occasion every year. I’m always trying to sneak the decorating in earlier and earlier… I made an attempt at pre-Thanksgiving decor this year, but Mr. FW wasn’t swayed. And on the other side of things, I’d probably leave it up until February so, on the whole, it’s a good thing he reins me in. But would it be so wrong to have a Christmas tree at your Thanksgiving feast? I think not.
*I realized in the course of writing this post that our home contains nary a hall. It’s open concept and the rooms just flow into other rooms. This is only bizarre in the upstairs… it feels normal on the main floor, I swear.
Mr. FW and I usually celebrate Christmas at home with just the two of us (plus Frugal Hound, of course) and making our house festive and merry has always been an integral aspect of creating our own Christmas memories. We’ve lived in a number of different cities and abodes over the course of our 6 years of marriage and decorating for Christmas has been a comforting constant. Per last week’s Woot & Grumble, we prefer to visit my family out in California in mid-January when flight prices hit rock bottom.
As we unpacked our boxes of Christmas decorations a few weekends ago, I realized that the whole thing was going to cost us $0 this year, which is what exactly what it cost us the past several years. How could this be? Well, in a word, it’s all fake or used. Yep. I shared in 10 Shockingly Expensive Things We Own that our beloved Christmas tree is artificial, and, so’s everything else. Garlands, boughs, holly–you name it, it’s not perishable.
The upfront cost for a quality tree and boughs, which we bought 5 years ago, wasn’t insignificant. However, we haven’t purchased a single thing in the intervening years. And, thanks to my handy math skillz, I calculated that everything paid for itself (vs. the cost of buying fresh, live greens) after just a few years. So, we’re coasting on free decor at this point! These few purchases coupled with many hand-me-downs from our families comprise the (now) traditional Frugalwoods Christmas Spirit Of Peace And Light And Hounds Spectacular display.
Somewhat controversial is the fact that I don’t light most of my Christmas candles. As I am wont to say, “they’re not for lighting, they’re for looking (at)!” These are some fine green and red candles folks, and I don’t want to burn them and then have to buy new ones! I even decorated some with ribbons, which is one of the craftiest things I’ve ever done.
Yes the ribbon is held on by tape in the back, but, uh, this is not Frugalcrafts for a reason. My idea of Pinterest (other than pinning photos of Frugal Hound) is staring incomprehensibly at all of the stuff I will never make. Candle tape situation aside, we’re pleased as egg nog that the ol’ Christmas greens have held up so well five years on. Hopefully we’ll employ these same decorations for years to come.
Another cost-saving measure in our festivity is that we don’t have lights on the exterior of our home. Outdoor lights use waaaaaaaay more electricity than we care to pay for. The cost of our indoor lights is much lower and more manageable. But throw in a huge outdoor display? Not on our frugal watch. Mr. Frugalwoods asked me to include the caveat that he plans to decorate a live, outdoor tree with gigantic multi-colored lights on the future homestead.
And now it’s time for a poll on Christmas lights. Do you prefer:
1) Multi-colored lights
2) White lights
As Mr. Frugalwoods and I learned as newlyweds, there’s quite a divisive debate betwixt the two. We established our preferences early on (me for white lights, he for multi-colored) and let the conversation simmer for a few years. But, when it came time to select our pre-lit fake tree, we had an extensive conversation on the merits of each type of light, its future potential for ugliness (ahem, multi-colored lights), its tackiness metric (looking at you, multi-colors), and general matching with the rest of one’s decor. I’ll omit the details of the discussion and instead let you gaze upon the result of our decision:
I know that decorating (for Christmas or any other purpose) isn’t for everyone, and I realize this all might seem like a waste of money, but, we love it. The spirit of peace, joy, and hope that comes with Christmas is inspiring, soothing, and to me, perfect. Mr. FW and I all about spending on what matters to us and creating a happy, cozy, fulfilling life while still saving towards our ultimate goal of financial independence in three years.
Mr. Frugalwoods is out of town for business this weekend (grumble!), so Frugal Hound and I are having another of our infamous girls’ weekends. Actually they’re not so infamous, I can pretty much tell you what happens: she naps all day and wakes up occasionally to go on walks with me.
I, on the other hand, am going to a free hot yoga class on Saturday (free courtesy of my jobs at the yoga studio, which entail taking out the trash once a week and working the front desk for 30 minutes before my classes).
Then, I’m headed over to a frugal friend’s house–she is very kindly cooking us dinner and we’re going to nerd out about personal finance. Woo hoo! I’m very thankful that she’s cooking for me since my Mr. Frugalwoods leftovers may be running low by then. More importantly, I deeply appreciate frugal friends who are happy to stay in and just spend time (as opposed to money) together.
Also, frugal people are the BEST cooks (or so I’ve discovered). We had a frugal friends potluck at our house on Sunday evening and everyone brought amazingly delicious homemade dishes! Vastly tastier, healthier, and more interesting than some old store-bought thing.
Mr. Frugalwoods and I truly do prefer to spend most of our time together and so we’re not fans of business trips. Especially not those that cross weekends… but, on the bright side, Mr. FW is able to pay for everything with our credit cards and get reimbursed! Point and rewards FTW!