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o christmas tree how to decorate the tree for (almost) free
by Yee-Fan Sun
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When you grow up with an atheist father and a non-practicing Buddhist/agnostic mother, Christmas doesn't have much deep meaning, as a religious holiday anyway. Still, each winter, when the tinsel and holly and twinkling lights start showing up in all the shop windows, and Christmas carols pipe softly in the background everywhere I go, I can't help it: I get sucked in. I love the reds and greens and golds and silvers; I love the glittery snowflake cutouts and the colorful glass balls; I love the fake Santas and their accompanying elves. And most of all, I love the trees, their green pine branches swathed in ribbons and beads and mini-lights, dotted with colorful ornaments galore.

Still, I'm not a total chump: I know how grossly commercialized this holiday can be. All that magical holiday goodness has been carefully concocted by businesses to appeal to just one thing: our wallets. My ever-practical boy is always pointing out how much waste and unnecessary spending are involved with the holiday, and deep down, I know he's right. So each year, I find myself wandering by the Christmas tree lots and yearning to lug the biggest, fullest, loveliest one back home. And most years, the boy shakes his head and gives me the look, and I sigh, and we go home tree-deprived.

But this year, I happened to be wandering down the street towards the supermarket one afternoon when I spied a sign advertising 4-foot artificial trees for the bargain price of 5, and promptly made a beeline into the store to investigate. The trees lacked the lovely piney scent of a real tree; they looked more than a little plasticky up close. But at that price, I couldn't resist. I scooped up a boxed tree and a set of mini-lights, and happily carried my new purchases home.

Now when we'd moved to the UK for our two-year-stint in Edinburgh, we'd done our best to pack minimally. So what few ornaments I had managed to accumulate were all sitting in a box in a storage unit back in Tucson. Which meant when it came to trimming my new fake tree, we'd be starting from scratch. Determined not to get completely suckered into the Christmas consumerism, I decided that this year, I was going to save some money by making ornaments from stuff I already had lying around the abode.

follow along this way to check out the tree!


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