If you've been eyeing the sidewalk Christmas tree sales but are discouraged by a limited budget and artistic ability for decorating one, fear not. I'm here to tell you: You can have your cake and eat it too.
A simple, stylish home display can be achieved for less than $100, including the fir. The trick? All of the items used to decorate the tree can be found at a local hardware store. Here's how you can do it too:
1. Buy a real tree. Fresh firs are generally less expensive than artificial ones. An unofficial scan of local pop-up sales has most four-foot models running between $35 and $40. Bonus: If you're low on space, you won't have to store it the rest of the year.
2. Pick lights with a green wire. Why? Whether you prefer white or colored lights, the green wire is key because it will be camouflaged by the pine needles. This way, admirers will be less likely to critique your tree-wrapping skills. ($20)
3. Forego typical garland. Instead, try all-purpose white cotton clothesline. Because it's been rolled up in a spool, clothesline unravels in loops—making it easy to drape across the boughs. Plus, rope has a sort of Anthropologie window-meets-Whoville aesthetic. ($20 for 100 feet)
4. Swap out tinsel for silver gift ribbon. Again, because the ribbon has been prepackaged in a spool it will unravel in loops, making it easy to hang in festive swirls. But if you prefer the flat, weeping-willow look of traditional tinsel, the ribbon can easily be stretched straight. The best part is the price: 65 cents. Who can argue with that?
Top with the letters J-O-Y cut from scrap paper around the house and there you have it—instant holiday cheer!