Nina Smith

Saving Money on Christmas Trees

Filed By Nina Smith | December 17, 2007 7:20 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: saving money during holidays

“The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!” – Charles N. Barnard

When my partner and I try to cut corners and save money, it typically is a disaster. Like the time we canceled our cleaning service at the house. This money-saving experiment lasted about two minutes and the ironic part of the story was that the new cleaning service ended up costing us $10 more a week than the old one. So much for saving money… but we have a clean home for $160 a month. Even the cat is happy.

So this year with all the baby-making expenses, we decided to try Home Depot to save a few yuletide bucks on our Christmas tree. What a fiasco! For over a decade, my partner has gone to the same high-end Newport Beach Christmas tree lot. They play music, serve coffee, and have buff and hunky men to help lug and load it on our car.

Home Depot has none of this. But you’ll save 20 bucks. A Noble Fir is $39.99 at Home Depot. The equivalent size tree at our super high-end Newport lot is $59.99.

Here’s how it went. We drove to Home Depot on Saturday afternoon and the parking lot was a nightmare because it was a Saturday and the height of shopping season. We had to park and walk what seemed like a football field to get to the outdoor nursery section. Once inside the gates, we were on our own. Most of the trees were still wrapped with twine and one of the workers handed us garden clippers and said, “Knock yourself out!” If we wanted to peruse the area for the best option, then it was up to us to clip and unravel the twine from each tree. Where were the hunky boys to help? Where was the Christmas music? The piping hot coffee? Not at Home Depot.

We finally found one we liked and I dragged it over to the line where my partner asked one of the associates if they would put on the stand for us. We had brought our own. It’s the kind requiring you to drill a hole in the bottom of the tree and then hammer it in. Home Depot doesn’t do this. But he said it was easy and we could do it at home with a hammer. Yeah, right. We own a hammer, but we’re drill-less lesbians. It takes a drill.

I looked around and saw people struggling to get their trees on top of their SUV’s. I turned to my partner and asked, “Is this worth saving 20 bucks?” She laughed and questioned how hard it would be to drag the tree across a parking lot that we already knew seemed the length of a football field.

With that we pushed the tree aside and drove to our super high-end Newport lot. The air was festive; people were sipping coffee and laughing with seasonal joy as they paid for their overpriced trees. We gladly paid $59.99 for ours. The tree stand was intact and we tipped the hunk $5 to carry, load and tie it on top of the used Volvo.

When is it worth saving money? When is it not? You tell me…

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Nina blogs about money over at Queercents.


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That sounds lovely... But Home Depot DID get an 85 on the HRC Corporate Equality Index.. :-)

You could save some money by purchasing a fake tree at the end of the year. My last one held up quite nicely for about 10 years. I dont like the smell of pine, pine in the carpet, watering the tree, the fire hazzard, the cat drinking the water in the tree, the dead tree to get rid of at the end of the year.

If you like the smell, Glade makes a candle that smells much like pine.
If you like the pine on the carpet, go outside and pull some off your bushes or your neighbors bushes.
The cat could drink from a bowl under the tree.

Just some suggestions take em or leave em.

Zach: Excellent point, but I think a third of the hunky guys at the super high end Newport lot are gay... that should count for something.

Phil: Great suggestion and funny comment too... yes, indeed the cat could drink from a bowl under the tree. Here’s some additional ideas for when it comes to buying a fake one: Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Buying an Artificial Christmas Tree.

For years I insisted on a real tree every year. Jerame finally talked me into getting a fake tree two years ago. It was horribly ugly. I hate it with a passion. (In fact, I still haven't put it up this year just because I can't stand it. Hang the stockings and be done!) Our new house though is over 100 years old and the heat - she ain't so good. We have to use space heaters to keep the place warm and it dries out the air so badly that I know a real tree would end up a pile of kindling in about 2 days. :(

But - back on point - I'd have paid the extra $20 just to flirt with the hunky gay boys. LOL

Nina, I feel the exact same way about airline tickets. For $20 more, I can fly on an airline besides Southwest and have an assigned seat and not feel like I'm being herded like cattle. And as for airports in the LA area, it's usually $20 cheaper to fly on US Air into LAX rather than the Long Beach airport. But seriously, it's not worth the $20 to deal with the hassle of LAX traffic. My time and sanity are worth far more than $20.

Glad you decided your time was worth $20. You can always make up for it by getting a DVD instead of going out to the movies.