Christmas in July

Last month, I wrote a post all about how I plan for Christmas during the other months of the year. I don’t do this because I’m super organized, I just do it because I like to save money. You can read about one of my thrifty methods in this post and today I’m going to show you another one.

Image courtesy of

Right now is great time to buy artificial Christmas trees. July is the time of year when tree retailers like to clear out last year’s models for their new inventory. What makes a Christmas tree look like last year’s model? If you figure it out, please email me the answer.

All I know is that their inventory change can mean big saving for us. Such as, in 50-60% off their prices, with free shipping. Those kinds of savings can translate into more money leftover for your Christmas gift budget. (Cue Hallelujah chorus here.) If your workplace throws an annual Christmas party, now is great time to get savings on your decor, too. Let me show you how to work these deals…

Choosing the right size

Here’s the easy-to-remember tip for always choosing a tree height that fits your home perfectly:

The top of your Christmas tree should be a minimum of one foot taller than the tallest person in your household.

For example, Mr. CARO is 6 feet, 5 inches tall, so our Christmas tree should always be at least 7 feet, 5 inches tall. This measurement does not include the height of whatever you use as a tree topper (an angel, a star, etc.).

30" tabletop tree for $45, online at Target

Of course, if you have high ceilings, you might want to go with a taller tree. To feel proportioned in the room, most trees need to get close to the ceiling, but this can also vary based on how you use your room. This brings me to my next tip:

Be sure to measure your floor space and compare it against the tree’s diameter before ordering.

There is no standard size for artificial Christmas trees and you can’t use the pictures you see online as a reliable measurement guide. The taller the tree, the wider the base of the tree. There are now also popular models designed for narrower spaces that are slim at their base but stand slightly taller. Measuring in advance is essential to avoid having pesky, bulky returns.

I think this should be called the "You've had too much Egg Nog" model, $400 online at Target (Yep. $400.)

Buying Tips

These tips come from real life experiences of our friends and family (and us). I share these so you can avoid frustrating mistakes that can break your happy Christmas savings mood.

  1. When choosing you tree online, be sure to look at a close-up of a branch. You can use the “view larger” option on most catalog images to do this easily. Examining the branches up close can help you make sure that your tree is the right shade of color, realistic and has no other surprises. (“Pinecones?! I didn’t notice tiny pine cones in the picture online!”)
  2. Many sites offer one model of tree with colored lights and an identical model with white lights. Be sure to look closely at the wording and pictures to make sure you have chosen the one you really want. It’s normally listed in the tree description during the check-out process, too.

    Do you need a bag to store your Christmas tree? A lot of those are on sale now, too.

  3. When your tree arrives, put it together and make sure everything works. While it may feel a little odd to put up a Christmas tree while you sip iced tea, it will make you crazy if you discover the lights don’t work or the stand is too wobbly in December.
  4. Save any warranties that come with your tree. The tree may work fine when it arrives, but this way you are protected (at your sale price) from future problems.


In researching this post, I was amazed at all of the different options in Christmas trees available. While I’m going to give you a nice list of sites to browse, I also thought I’d show you some of the items that really caught my eye. All of the pictures below are linked to their retailers for easy shopping.

This is a great time for finding deals on garlands, wreaths and other holiday decor, too. Like this 10 foot pre-lit garland:

It looks very nice. Why is it on clearance? I have no idea.

I would have though you should just put a wreath on each door, but this would be very handy on narrower French doors.

This a good example of one of the nice slim trees I mentioned earlier. See how they show you a close-up of the branch, too. Very nice.

Hmmm…I think this one might look better outside.

This tree rotates on its stand and I can’t imagine why this hasn’t caught on more. It would certain make the tree decorating process much simpler!

The trunk of this red spiral tree changes colors and is filled with moving bubbles. I’m thinking ornaments would just get in the way here.

Not everyone pictures hearty alpine-like trees as part of their Christmas. This is one of the nicer options I saw among many palm tree choices.

This tree just made me laugh out loud:

"The Stephen J. Colbert National Treasure Tree"


Listed below are all of the retailers I explored online. I’m sure there are many retailers out there, but the ones I chose for this list had either huge off-season sales going on right now, great customer service recommendations or both.

Do you have a great store to recommend for Christmas tree decor? Are you a “tinsel on the tree” or “no tinsel” home? Leave a comment and share your Christmas tree stories.

Posted on July 15, 2011, in Decor, Lifestyle. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Merry Christmas! I think the palm trees are hilarious. I was looking in to buying a new tree for my folks this year. Their artificial tree is the same one we had growing up. It has a central wooden “trunk” with metal “branches”. Suffice it to say, it could use an upgrade. I love that they make them with built-in lights, though it always reminds me of Charlie Brown’s tree when I think of those big old lights. I’ll have to catch one of these sales. Thanks for the tip!

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