Non-Consumer Photo Essay — Decorating For The Holidays

by Katy on December 12, 2011 · 23 comments

We drove out yesterday to a Christmas tree farm that belongs to my husband's colleague. And the cost for our fresh noble fir? $20! (And that's not just a friends-and-family deal, it was the actual price!) It's a good thing I have such strapping boys, as our eight-foot tall Christmas tree was not easy to carry.

Decorating the tree is a job for the boys.

After years of using a vintage Christmas tablecloth as a tree skirt, I finally scored the real deal at an after-Xmas sale at the Seattle Goodwill. If memory serves correct, I paid around $1.17, as it was 75% off. I love how sweetly fuddy-duddy it is. There's just something about ball-fringe that melts my heart.

Of course, I had to try it on my sister's dog, Maggie.

At this point you may be saying to yourself, "But wait, aren't you Jewish?!" Yes, I am Jewish. However . . . we always had a tree when I was growing up, plus my husband is not Jewish. (Although frankly, I've been to church more times than he has!) I put together this Chanukah vignette in the entryway using Scrabble tiles. Yes, it's missing the "H" at the end, but my understanding is that there is no wrong way to spell Chanukah/Hannukah/Chanuka/Hah-nu-kah.

Not to be forgotten is a Scrabble-licious "Merry Xmas" on the mantle.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.

Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.



{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Dogs or Dollars December 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

Love the use of scrabble tiles for decorations! Also totally dig the tree skirt. We are also using a table cloth in lieu of just the right, illusive skirt. Someday it will come my way..


Jenny December 12, 2011 at 9:34 am

Is that a rare photo op of Mr. NCA? If I could buy a tree for $20 I wouldn’t hassle with cutting ymown–but here that tree would $100 or more.


Katy December 12, 2011 at 9:45 am

That is “Mr. NCA.” And cutting our own was about pointing out the tree we wanted and then letting them cut it down with a chainsaw.



Ruthie December 12, 2011 at 10:21 am

I spy with my little eye a Goodwill ski cap! 🙂


Katy December 12, 2011 at 10:36 am

Good eye!

I had thought it would be a stocking stuffer, but I was worried that he would lose my husband’s one, which he had been wearing constantly.



Megg December 12, 2011 at 8:25 pm

And apparently he is STILL wearing it (the new one!) constantly! I love it!


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary December 12, 2011 at 10:51 am

8 spellings for 8 days and nights!


Katy December 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Ding, ding, ding, ding!



Van December 12, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Perfectly charming and thrifty holiday vignettes you’ve got set up! And i love a tree skirt that does double-duty as dog skirt. (I force my parent’s animals to wear things I make, too:


Jinger December 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I love the Scrabble decor….perfect. Now I need to ask for a SCrabble game for Christmas.


Diane C December 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy! When digging out my holiday decor, I discovered with some mirth that I now own EIGHT Scrabble Games. Four deluxe and four old-school. I’m going to crib your idea, and you inspired another. I think I’ll put out a turntable and a big bowl of letters, so visitors can create their own holiday messages. Yes, of course, they were all picked up second (or third) hand and yes, there is a large holiday Scrabble fest planned, so despite evidence to the contrary, I’m not a hoarder, there IS a plan. Ahem.


namastemama December 12, 2011 at 6:52 pm

That tree cost $20!!! $2o…really!?! I saw an everyday variety 8 foot evergreen for $80. I live in the midwest. You should really start an “You know you live in OR/Portland when” list. Put that on top of your list. Along with your bimonthly garbage pickup, compost pickup, it’s cool to have chickens in the backyard and finding Hanna Anderrson @ Goodwill, no sales tax and full service gas stations. On second thought, Maybe I’ll make the list for you. 🙂


Jo December 12, 2011 at 7:05 pm

You have a gorgeous tree there!

I love your use of Scrabble tiles.

And the comments so far are excellent!!!


Karin December 12, 2011 at 7:47 pm

The hat was the first thing I noticed, too 🙂 He obviously loves it, even wears it inside!

I just love all your decorations, and the magnificent tree. I fondly remember trees that size when growing up in a very old house with high ceilings; this was in Germany and we always had live candles which makes people in North America usually gasp in horror . . .

I bet your whole house smells of fir, with a tree that fresh!


Megg December 12, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Wish we could find a $20 tree!! Although with my allergies, we pretty much have to do artificial 🙁
And I’ve wanted to do the Scrabble tile thing ever since I first saw it, but I need to find an old Scrabble game first!


Practical Parsimony December 12, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I love this post. I think this is the first time I have ever seen your husband. That hat on the oldest! I have been looking for one of those for me.Now, I have to have one.

Scrabble decor idea is great.

It is good you pay homage to the Christian, Jewish, and pagan traditions. It warms the cockles of my heart.

We always used a white sheet for a tree skirt. We did not have a skirt. It looked like snow, as Mama explained it. Until two years ago, I would have nothing but a sheet under the tree. Then, I cut a skirt from white sweatshirt fabric and used that, fuzzy side up.

Your skirt looks like one a woman here made by the gross and sold out of for 20 years. I think every man, woman, and child in the county owned one of her homey tree skirts. Yeah, I love ball fringe….lol.

The tree is fabulous and cheap.


Jana December 13, 2011 at 6:07 am

We’re a Christmas/Hanukkah household, too, so I love to see how others decorate their houses. Ours consists of a Star of David ornament on the tree and $1 gel window stickers on the front windows. What can I say? We’re festive!


Claudia December 13, 2011 at 7:34 am

First of all, LOVE the Scrabble decorations. Brilliant idea. Second of all, a $20 tree! WOW! I wish I could find such a good deal in my neck of the woods.


Megan December 13, 2011 at 7:56 am

My aunt and cousins are Jewish. They always come back for our Christmas (they live across the country) and I love it when the holidays coincide. So many things to celebrate! And I love latkes! Love the combo decor. My hubby brought me a skymall magazine (talk about things you don’t need!!!) and they had a Star of David Christmas tree topper. I thought that was kinda funny.


chppie December 13, 2011 at 9:21 am

I saw this on Savvy Housekeeping and thought of you. – turn an old Scrabble game into these Scrabble Christmas Ornament from My Sweet Savannah –


Katy December 13, 2011 at 10:18 am

Did you see the one that spells “Oy?”




Bauunny December 13, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I have looked but NEVER seen a used Scrabble game at Goodwill or other thrift stores. Any suggestions on where to get the letters other than buying a new game?


margot January 27, 2012 at 2:43 am

I continue to be so confused by your stated values versus your life choices. Buying a tree to use for a few weeks at Christmas is not environmental, nor is it non-consumerist. Why chop down and kill a huge, gorgeous tree to have inside a house for such a short period of time and then for it to die??! What a waste of precious resources – the tree, the land it was grown on, the water to grow it, etc.

The most responsible approach is to skip a tree. It’s still Christmas without a tree. And one can decorate a house very festively with natural decor from outside (pine cones, branches that have been pruned from trees that get to live, etc) and stuff from Goodwill. Or if you must have a tree, get a fake tree. It’s easy to find attractive options new or used, and these days they look great. My mom got one over 25 years ago, and while it was odd the first year, no one noticed a difference after that and it blows my mind to think of how many trees she’s avoided killing over the years.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: