The holiday season is upon us, and for most folks it’s a time to splurge and buy expensive gifts and decorations. But the holidays can still be enjoyed fully without overspending. Decorations and gifts are key components to getting into the holiday spirit—but instead of investing in store prepared décor, opt for making fresh garland and wreaths yourself for your front door. Buy floral wire from your local crafts store (24 gauge or more) and cut pieces of evergreen from trees located in your yard or a friend’s garden. Twist wire tying the greenery together and you’ll have fresh garland and a wreath for the cost of your time of a half hour of crafty handy work. Left over greenery can be used for outdoor planters.

There’s no question that Christmas cannot be enjoyed without a beautiful tree donning your living room or foyer. So here are a few options to consider that will surely trim the holiday budget.

Invest in an artificial tree that looks authentic and stores easily. This will enable you to deck the halls every year without stressing about when or where you’ll buy your next tree. The best times to buy artificial trees are the days immediately after Christmas.

Alternatively, if your annual tradition absolutely calls for a real tree (and fake trees are out of the question) find a local nursery that rents live trees that can be returned at the end of the season and then be re-rented next year. These trees are not cut, their roots are kept intact in a pot or inside of dirt-filled burlap. Also, instead of renting a real tree, buy an evergreen at your local home improvement store wrapped in burlap and keep it in your yard or balcony until next December. Aside from adding water to the pot or burlap from time-to-time, your tree will not require much maintenance and will be ready for use the following holiday season. Best of all, it will beautify your outdoor space year round. This is an ideal economical ‘green’ approach to enjoying the holidays.

Photo caption: Door decorated in homemade garland made from evergreen trees.