Our $20 Christmas Tree

How we got a beautiful tree for just $20. This year, we spent $20 on our live Christmas tree. It was a bit of an experiment, to see whether we would be happy with the Lowe’s Christmas tree special, and I’m happy to report that it passed with flying colors. It was practically effortless to get a nice tree for a great price. All I had to do was bring a tape measure and my A Game.

My childhood memories of putting up the Christmas tree involve going to the local Boy Scouts lot in the dark, on December 20th, finding the cheapest tree that was tall enough, and listening to my dad groan at the price while evaluating whether we could hide the bald spots by facing them towards the wall. Then the wrangling of the Christmas tree and lights would begin. Inevitably, the tree would fall on someone after some of the ornaments were on it, so we started giving the tree a “resting period” before decorating, so we wouldn’t have any ornament casualties. Let’s just say that my associations with getting a Christmas tree were less than ideal. As an adult, I always avoided getting a Christmas tree because I spent 32 of my 33 Christmases at my parents’ house.

Last year was the second year I had even bought a Christmas tree, and we pulled out all of the stops. We went to the local tree farm, had our son take a picture with Santa, got cider donuts, and picked out the most beautiful Fraser Fir I have ever seen, while snowflakes gently fell from the sky. Norman Rockwell would have been proud. But Dave Ramsey wouldn’t be. That tree was $70. The picture with Santa was $5. That wasn’t going to fly this year.

This year, I grabbed the Lowe’s circular while in line to purchase my awesome new shelves on Black Friday and saw that 5′-6′ Fraser Fir Christmas trees were on sale for $20. The 6′-7′ trees were being sold for $35. I figured that we should try to get a $20 tree, so we went back to Lowe’s with a tape measure to see how tall those 5′-6′ trees really were.

It should come as no surprise that Lowe’s makes sure that most trees are as close to 5′, 6′, and 7′ tall as possible, because that’s the pricing cutoff. But when you buy the tree, the associate saws off the bottom, so it will stay fresh. And now the tree is under the pricing threshold. Knowing that, I measured all the trees we looked at and found one that was just barely 6′ tall, priced at $35. And I did it. I asked whether we could get the $20 price because the tree would be under 6′ once it was cut. I didn’t get mean or loud or do anything pushy — other than just asking, which some would say is pushy in and of itself. And like grandma always said, “you get more with honey than you do with vinegar.” I just asked.

He could have said no, but he didn’t. He said yes! I was elated that we could set up a great Christmas tree (albeit a little shorter than my husband wanted) for $20 plus tax. Merry Christmas to us!

Imagine my delight when I was also able to fit it inside our Prius hatchback instead of having to strap it to the roof, which risks scratches and general anxiety about driving with a tree on the roof. If you go this route, remember to wrap it in a dropcloth or, even better, a tree disposal bag, to avoid getting sap on your seats.

Avoid the stress of strapping your tree to the roof of your car and get one that fits inside, instead!

A 5’11” tree fits perfectly in a Prius hatchback, even with a carseat right next to it. I bet you could even get a 6′ tree in there, but I don’t know why you would try 😉

If you celebrate Christmas, where do you get your Christmas tree? What’s your favorite Christmas tree memory? How many times did your Christmas tree fall on someone? 

P.S.: If you’re interested in buying your tree at Lowe’s, guess who is selling discounted Lowe’s gift cards: Staples! I swear I had no idea about that before I wrote this post. I just wanted to write about getting such a deal on our tree, then I checked the Staples ad for next week. Also, starting on Sunday, Rite Aid is selling discounted Home Improvement gift cards like the ones I bought on Black Friday. They can be used at any home improvement store, not just Lowe’s. That deal requires you to be a Rite Aid Rewards member, and it will give you $10 in +UP Rewards, which you can spend on almost anything in the store, but you have to wait until the next day to spend it.

11 thoughts on “Our $20 Christmas Tree

    • Haha! Yes! Last year’s tree was really perfect in every way ($70 should get buy a perfect tree!), but I’m OK with less than perfection this year. Every time I see it, I’m happy we didn’t bust our budget with it!

  1. I love how everyone’s posts are so festive and full of Christmas joy! 😉 Great job on scoring such a great deal. I would LOVE a real Christmas tree but it’s too much hassle for me so a few years ago I got a fake one. I remember I was given vouchers for M&S at work for outstanding performance and I spent all £100 on a pretty Christmas tree and Christmas decorations! Best £100 spent ever! It’s the 5th year and I still use them, and will continue to use every Christmas! 🙂

  2. Nice work! Our tree is especially beautiful this year and we got it from Home Depot (last night!) as we do most years. $40 for a 7.5 ft tree. It wasn’t the tallest in the 7′-8′ range, but it is so full and gorgeous I can’t wait to start decorating it in about an hour!

  3. Nice Job!!!
    That’s how you get the job done.
    I’m glad that at least one of us could get a Christmas tree without the hassle of cost.
    I, for one, bought it at the nearby mall, and the money went to boy-scouts of America. For the extra ten dollars, I now know that my money went somewhere that’s going to use it well.
    Thanks for the insight,
    I really like getting in the Christmas spirit when I hear about trees.

  4. Pingback: Fun, Frugal, Family Activities During the Holidays and How to Find Them | Stapler Confessions

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