Get The Most Out Of a Cheap Christmas Tree

Last week I decided it was finally time to upgrade from our $40 Christmas tree and while it's too early to be thinking about this for some, I know some of you are on the same page. This time around I had a bigger budget thanks to some financial stability that came into our life this past year, but it still didn't leave us room to buy the bushiest, realest looking tree available. So I thought it might be a good idea to reshare my tips for making a cheap Christmas tree look more expensive.

The price of a good fake Christmas tree is astonighingly high. Granted, I do want it to be prelit and flame retardant and safe and beautiful and something that will last for many years. But, I do think you can achieve many of those qualities in a cheaper tree with a little ingenuity.

4 years ago now when I was pregnant with our Son, my husband ran out on Black Friday to pick me up a Christmas tree to decorate. It was $20 or $30 dollars, 6 feet, and frankly just cheap. The tree was pretty bare and transparent.

It needed TLC to look filled it and festive. And I think it looks many, many dollars more expensive than it was in the end so I have to share with you guys.

How To Get The Most Out Of A Cheap Christmas Tree
(and even if you buy real, some of these will work for you, too!)

Tip #1: Fluff, Fluff, Fluff

Fluff the mess out of your tree. Straighten every single branch. Then bend those branches to fill in gaps you’re noticing at this stage. Keep fluffing, straightening, and bending until you cannot fluff any more.

Tip #2: Layer Cheap On Cheap…

Pick up a strand or two of cheap lighted garland. I always use a prelit tree, but these extra strands help to beef up the inner parts of the tree where there are no branches to fluff. Wrap it around the base to thicken it up. Zig Zag it around each of the branches, working your way as far up the tree as your garland will reach.

Tip #3: Bling It Out!

Use your shiniest, most reflective ornaments (or buy some if you’ve got the funds) and hang them at the beginning of each branch. Hang one on each branch. If you run out, use your cheap glittery ones. Anything that will mirror the branches and bounce around more light.

Tip #4: Let’s Get Real.

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on real clipping from a pine, stick them around the tree much like you would with decorative picks. If you’re not, pick up garland with realistic features (mine were 60% off at Joann’s and I’ve seen Michaels do the same sale). There were more expensive ones than the ones I picked up that looked much more realistic, but the next step helps disguise the “cheapness” of mine. Lay them on the rows of branches. I picked up 3 rows that were 6 feet. This is obviously not enough to run along every branch. So I spaced them out and used cheap decorative picks that were similar in decorum from the dollar store. I used three of those to stick into the bare rows.

Tip #5: It’s all about the layers.

If you’re using a decorative garland, this is the time to put it on. Lay it on each row of the branches but be sure to leave the branches free to put ornaments on. After the garland is on to your liking, put as many ornaments as you can possibly fit on your tree. I use approximately 300 ornaments on my tree. You can use as many as you own (so long as you like them all and they fit the theme you’re after) or you can pick some up if you’re tree is feeling incomplete. This step is purely about how you want your tree to look, go for what makes you happy!

Tip #6 Plan Ahead

If you plan ahead, you can pick up not only all the pieces to make a dinky tree look majestic, but you can even get a great Christmas tree for incredibly cheap! I always scour Walmart in the days after the Holiday to pick up big containers of ornaments, string lights, gift sets and decor. If you can hang tough through this Christmas and get moving in those days after Christmas, you can have a more magical one next year sometimes at 50% of!

I hope these tips are helpful and interesting and that you've found something you can use this year.
(these pictures are actually of my tree from 2013!)


  1. HI Corinna you did a great job with a very skinny tree lol with some great tips and that's what I do buy after Christmas you always get a bargin. We paid a lot for our tree on sale but we n=made that choice based on we wanted it to last us it is 12 years old and beautiful perfect condition same box we tape the box every year as the tree is very heavy 20 kilos ,9 ft high, we are just putting her up it takes 3 days and we need the ladder but we love it your tree has some awesome pieces on it well done love it xo

  2. I like the idea of getting lighted garland and placing it next to the trunk of the tree. That will help me have more lights on my trees.

  3. You can also add garland around the middle of the tree and I add branches from artificial trees that people have tossed to fill in bare spot.

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  6. Today, I want to share a little part of my bedroom with you! I love decorating for Christmas! This year, now that I am married, I wanted to show you how I like to spruce up my bedroom for Christmas! I got many of these smaller pillows at Target this year! The smaller ones are from the dollar section at Target! The red/green make it a little more festive! My nightstand has HotSkwash pumpkins on them! I have a lot of these! They are so addicting! Each pumpkin is hand made using real pumpkin stems! They come in so many fun colors!

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