The holidays are a wonderful time of the year. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all have amazing decorations and thousands of Christmas lights beaming from our homes? Consumers spend billions on Christmas every year. Aside from the gifts, there are meals to be cooked and decorations to put up. The cost of Christmas is ever increasing, but below are some tips to help keep the decorations looking great and still affordable.

Use LED Lights

Not only do LEDs use roughly 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs, they also can last up to 50,000 hours. Since these lights don't generate much heat, they can be made with plastic, which is a cheaper alternative to glass. This passes the savings on to the consumer.

Generally speaking, LED lights are a lot cheaper than incandescent lights and offer significant energy savings. LED lights use approximately 4.8 watts per string of lights while incandescent bulbs use about 20.4 watts per string. This results in a significant difference in energy consumption in one strand. By using LED lights, you can save on your electricity bill for the month of December.

Shop After the Holidays

Many deals appear in the days after the holidays. By shopping immediately after a holiday or in an opposing season, you will be able to save on highly marked-up Christmas goods. Many stores mark down their merchandise by 50-75%, and sometimes even more.

DIY Decor

Wreaths can be pricey. By buying a plain, undecorated pine wreath at a lower cost, and adding your own inexpensive decorations, you can save money. Pine cones are another item that can easily be located outside, for free, and they can be painted with inexpensive Christmas colors or glitter. This project is extremely low cost, but it will add a simple Christmas touch.

Shop at Second-Hand Stores

One person's trash is another person's treasure. Many people try to get rid of old holiday decor before and after the holiday season. By scouring discount websites or second-hand shops, you will be able to find a lot of great holiday items for less.

Buy an Artificial Tree

While many people prefer a real tree for the holiday season, buying an artificial tree eliminates the repeated annual cost. While an artificial Christmas tree could cost $80 to $200, a real Christmas tree may be priced upward of $200, but the average cost is closer to $100. Paying $100 each year for a Christmas tree adds up to $500 over a five-year span. Alternatively, an artificial tree would only cost you the initial $100 to $200. Many say that the smell of the real tree is what they love most, but a budget-friendly option may be to buy an artificial tree and a pine-scented candle to save you money over the long run.

Reuse Your Decorations

Many people throw out Christmas decor each year and thus have to buy new garland, ornaments, and other Christmas trinkets year after year. By packing all of your decorations in a box and storing them in your basement or garage each year, you will save money that would otherwise be spent on new decorations. Eventually you'll need new ones, and when that time comes get new decorations after the holidays when everything is on sale.

The Bottom Line

Christmas is a magical time for many, although some may not be able to afford expensive decorations. You don't need exorbitant amounts of money to make your home feel and look like Christmas. Planning ahead and taking the time to implement these steps can save you hundreds of dollars this holiday season.

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