Growing up I had no concept of how much a string of Christmas lights cost. When it came to tree decorating we had a tote of stuff that was a hodgepodge of sentimental ornaments and various strings of lights, none of which were the same.

We had a strand of blinking poinsettia-shaped lights, rainbow lights, white ones, ones that I think at one time were set to music, and more. I don't ever remember my parents buying a strand of lights, we just kinda accumulated them. Needless to say, our tree was unique.

As an adult, my first fake Christmas tree came from a garage sale for $5 and much to my surprise, it came with two strands of white lights. Lucky! That tree served me well for two Christmas', but when I set it up last year, the light strands were both burnt out. I wasn't around much in December last year so I tossed a light-up necklace on my tree and called it good, vowing to buy new lights in 2021.

Abbey Minke
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Well the 2021 holiday season is here, and last night was the night I went out to buy my very first Christmas light strands. I was fully expecting a strand of lights to be upwards of $15, why else would my family never buy them? They had to be expensive.

Much to my surprise, a 23-foot strand of 100 lights was just under $3 at Walmart. That's it.

Abbey Minke

I was blown away by this. My thrifty family had been inheriting old lights and picking them up at garage sales for my entire life when we could've had a cohesively lit tree for about $10. But as I thought about it more, "normal" and "standard" have never been my family's brand. We like doing things a little different, and our hodgepodge Christmas tree is reminiscent of us.

I think my plan is to start with my new light strand and get wild from there. Who knows what I will find and add to my tree in the years to come.

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