I grew up in Japan raised by non-religious parents. We were Christians in name only. Although I was given Christmas presents as a child, I chose the present in advance and we never had Christmas trees with the exception of one year when my parents decided to host a Christmas party for some friends. When I was grown up and living in the U.S., I never decorated my apartment for Christmas. I was single, so what was the point?
After my husband and I were married, we were almost immediately separated for about 5 months when he had to go for extended training to prepare for his new job. I had to move to San Diego alone and find our new apartment. He was due to come home 3 days before Christmas. His one request for the new apartment was for a decorated Christmas tree.
I remember scrimping and saving to buy ornaments for that tree. Those were the days when Christmas decorations never were on sale until after Christmas, so everything seemed so expensive. Now that I look back, I don't know how I even managed to get the tree decorated, but I somehow did. It was all decked out in plastic icicles and angels and white lights. It was beautiful. It made my husband very happy to see it as he walked in the door the night he "returned" to his new apartment for the first time.
Over the years, we continued to amass an assortment of Christmas decorations. purchased for the most part at after-Christmas sales. Even so, I suspect we have spent a small fortune. It has gotten to the point that we have too much "stuff" to use it all in any given year. Still, Christmas decorations are hard to pass up if the price is right. Nowadays, I don't even take a second glance at anything retail and limit myself to items in thrift stores. This year so far, my outlay has been $17.00. I spent $1.99 for a miniature tree to place on top of the fireplace mantle next to our Santa figure, $4.99 for a wreath to hang next to our front door, and $10.00 for two rolls of wide red ribbons to wrap four columns on our front porch to make them look like candy canes. OK, the ribbon was purchased retail, but only because I knew I could not find them otherwise. My husband and even the boys like how they turned out. I don't think I will purchase anything else. Decorating for Christmas does not have to cost a fortune if you keep your eyes and mind open!