Christmas Decorating: Real Or Fake?

December 11, 2014

As I mentioned in this post I only decorate 3 times a year.  And the only holiday I decorate for is Christmas because we are the hosts.  One piece of advice I often read about for someone who wants to live a minimalist lifestyle and decorate for Christmas is to use live pieces that can be tossed instead of stored after the season (pine, mistletoe, poinsettia’s, evergreen etc).  And while I can appreciate the logic of doing so, I have discovered another option I like better.

Instead of purchasing live items I’ll have to buy again and again and again, every single year, I use fake pieces that I’ve bought once and then re-use every year.  Take my Christmas mantel.  Two years ago we purchased a new home and I purchased additional Christmas decorations because the new place had a mantel.  I haven’t added anything new since and I have no plans to.

As always I like to crunch the numbers so here we go….

16 items on or around the mantel (wreath, stocking, mantel scarf, stocking holders, various figurines…)

Let’s guess that I spent $250 on everything (I didn’t save the receipts but it’s a close figure)

And now let’s say I’m re-using these pieces for 10 years.

  • $250 / 16 items = $15.63 per item
  • $250 / 10 years = $25 over 10 years

If I purchased the same number of items every year (16) for the next 10 years… because everything is tossed at the end of the season, I’ll actually spend more than I currently have.

$15.63 per item x 16 items = $250 per year

$250 per year x 10 years = $2500 over 10 years

Now there’s nothing wrong with live pieces, I adore the smell of evergreen and I regularly use oil scents to mimic the smell in our home throughout the holiday season.  But for me, purchasing fake items that are re-used works better in the long run.

Do you prefer new pieces or to reuse your holiday decorations?



  1. I don’t actually decorate anymore. Working so many xmases made little sense to after a while, and then I just got out of the habit. That said, I did get a fake, lighted tree in FL last year for $10 at BigLots and enjoyed the festive feel. We left it with the condo mgr when we moved so he could put it out front with some other light up displays he’d reuse yearly.
    I’ve never heard of buying live so it could be tossed. As a kid, I do remember when my dad bought a potted pine and we would wheel it in and out of the house from the back yard each year for at least 6 years. I moved out after that, and don’t honestly know how much longer it was brought in before it got too large to do so. I liked that. It was ‘our’ tree and we didn’t needlessly kill one every year just to string it up and then toss it out. 🙂

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