As I turned the pages in the Balsam Hill magazine, I fell in love with their gorgeous Yukon Spruce Christmas tree. I swooned over it’s lightly flocked branches and gasped at the new Alpine Grove collection, complete with farmhouse ribbon, pops of color with berry picks, and sweet cozy ornaments that just seem to effortlessly adorn each tree limb. (Excuse me while I pause for a sip of my hot cocoa.)
With every turn of the catalog pages, I was ready for Christmas. I was ready to drag every dusty Christmas decor tub out of the attic and start Christmas… on October 31st. It’s no secret that this year has been a tough one (ok, that’s putting it mildly), but there was one thing that brought me joy and that was the thought of Christmas and everything it means to our family. This year I decided to start Christmas early and I didn’t care who judged me, well I never care anyway, but this was no exception… Operation Budget Christmas was a go.
Knowing that the Balsam Hill price point was a little high for my budget, I carefully ripped my favorite pages from the Balsam Hill catalog (sorry Balsam Hill if you are reading this) and quickly drove to the nearest Hobby Lobby and The Home Depot to recreate this enchanted Christmas tree in my home.
My shopping list included…
- Flocked 7 foot Christmas Tree
- “Woodsy” Christmas Ornaments (pine cones, red birds, natural textures)
- Assorted Clear Glass Ornaments (bonus if they are handpainted with animals)
- Pinecones, lots of pinecones
- Shiplap … just kidding this is not on the list. Shiplap was not used in the recreation of this budget Christmas tree.
- Frosted berry picks (I actually call these sprigs, but I know that’s not the right term)
- Thick Farmhouse ribbon with the red line on the edges
Before purchasing the decorations, I decided to take a quick peek online to review The Home Depot selection of trees. I started here because a friend of mine told me to look there first… this friend already had her trees up and decorated, so she was a good source, a trusted Christmas tree expert source.
With the pandemic on our hands, the idea of getting out and browsing through store after store for a Christmas Tree just didn’t seem like the wisest choice to make. I’m so glad I took the advice of my friend because not only did The Home Depot offer curbside pickup, but I was able to order the tree online and select the option to receive a text message when the tree was ready to be picked up. Y’all I had the tree loaded in my car within one hour.
I had an excellent customer service experience with The Home Depot when it came to a mistake I made while ordering the first tree. I did not realize that the tree I selected was not available in the store and that it was a special order. When I called the local store, the associate was incredibly helpful and refunded my purchase on the spot, and stayed on the phone with me to walk me through the ordering process again. I was so impressed by this level of customer service especially when the associate could have easily treated me like a complete idiot (which honestly I had made a silly ordering mistake so it wouldn’t have taken much to get there.)
Ok, tree debacle avoided… my next stop was Hobby Lobby. By now most people know that they offer deep discounts on their merchandise and typically run 50% off sales leading up to Christmas. Don’t ever pay full price at Hobby Lobby, seriously, stop doing that. With the Christmas decor shopping list in hand, I took advantage of this sale, wandering up and down each aisle looking for the specific items on my list so that I could match the picture-perfect Balsam Hill farmhouse tree. I was at the store at 9 AM when they opened to take full advantage of what I was hoping would be an empty store, but no surprise that within an hour of opening they were busy.
Pro Tip: If you have a list and an inspiration picture in hand you can cut your time down by half. It helps you to stay focused on the products you need to create your dupe tree.
The biggest deal and the one I’m the most excited about is the farmhouse ribbon. I was climbing shelves (sorry Hobby Lobby) when I found the farmhouse ribbon. While it was half the width of the Balsam Hill ribbon, it was the same yardage and an identical match, one worth hanging off of shelves for. Because Hobby Lobby was running low on stock in this item, I found a beautiful red snowflake companion ribbon that paired nicely with the red farmhouse striped ribbon.
After feeling great about my Hobby Lobby purchases I took everything home and quickly organized it for a professional to decorate. That’s right I budgeted a holiday specialist to decorate the tree just like the photo. I decided early on that I would include a professional into the budget. Let’s face it, I would still be decorating this tree and there is no amount of coffee, or wine, that could have helped me to stay focused. In a time of budgeting, I have also put a value on my time and there is a budget for that. My daily rate was less than a professional Christmas tree designer.
Pro Tip: Figure out what your hourly rate is, what does one hour cost you? In my situation, it made more sense to hire someone to decorate the tree while I continued to work in my home office... because after all who is paying for this tree exactly?