TIS THE SEASON TO DECORATE
The holiday season comes with lots of pressure to turn homes and yards into winter wonderlands. Whether the motivation is prepping for the big family gathering or keeping up with the neighbors' festive displays, sticking to a tight budget can be difficult. But don't let the holiday spirit flag just yet. Here are suggestions for inexpensive Christmas decorations that ring in the holiday season with style. (Note: Prices are subject to change.)
The life cycle of an artificial Christmas tree makes it a far cheaper option than the real thing. The key to selecting the perfect specimen is to focus on the number of needle tips. The more tips, the fuller and more realistic the tree looks.
4-FOOT, PRE-LIT HILLSIDE PINE TREE WITH MULTICOLOR LIGHTS
Those with small apartments looking for something petite and cheery may spring for this Hillside Pine Tree from Michael's ($22). There are 290 shapeable branch tips and 150 bright lights. At time of writing, the price is slashed more than half off. This little tree earned a solid 4.8 stars from over 400 reviews.
6.5-FOOT TREE WITH LIGHTS
This pre-lit artificial tree ($50 at Bed Bath & Beyond) features 740 needle tips. And with 350 lights, it will (ahem) spruce up any room with bright cheer. One reviewer reports it's perfect for a nook in his house and that it was the perfect shape.
Once the tree is set up, it's time to add the ornaments. A search through big-box retailers' sites shows pricing of $1 to $2 per ornament in high- quality box sets. More bang for the buck is available in larger quantities.
SHATTERPROOF ORNAMENT SETS
Another way to add pizzazz indoors or out is with a lighted tinsel bow. Bronner's Christmas Wonderland charges $15 for a 24-inch red bow that's backlit with 20 tiny bulbs. Hang it in a window to brighten the front of the house.
Make the kids happy and impress the neighbors with inflatable Christmas characters from Walmart. Stick with the classics, including Frozen's Olaf and a 4-foot snowman for $15. Prices swell for brand-name characters: nearly $50 for Minion Dave. All inflatables come with stakes and tethers, and consumers report that the characters fill with air in seconds for no-fuss setup.
Add an elegant twinkle to the yard with a couple of pre-lit deer decorations, available at Home Depot for $25 each. The 48-inch, three-dimensional figures are made of lighted wire and will bring holiday magic to any lawn.
Nothing says "welcome" at holiday time better than a beautiful wreath on the front door. Get a set of three Pre-Lit Holiday Wreaths for $17 from Christmas Tree Shops. All three wreaths, perfect for all your doors, are embellished with lights and pinecones, and topped with a bright red bow.
It doesn't feel like the holidays unless there are cheery strings of lights hung around almost every corner of the house. Get a set of 50 mini-Christmas LED lights from Christmas Central's sale section for only $7. Cheer up the room with red, orange, blue, green, and amber colors.
OTHER CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
Missing a few items? Check out Hobby Lobby's clearance section for last-minute decoration items and scoop up great deals. At time of writing, twinkle fluff, shredded snowflakes, and glitter balls can be found for less than $4.