If you’re willing to get a little creative with your decorating, however, there’s a very easy way around this issue, courtesy of Lifehacker video producer Heather Hass. “It’s basically the Charlie Brown method,” she says. “Go to the lot and ask for the duds—they’ll be cheaper and/or free!”
Specifically, when you go to your neighborhood tree lot, ask them something along the lines of, “Just wondering, do you have any duds that no one wants? I can take one off your hands if you’re going to throw them away!” or “Do you have any imperfect trees you’re having a hard time selling?”
Sometimes they’ll offer it for free, and sometimes merely at a discount, but either way, you won’t be blowing $100 for a tree you’ll have to drag to the curb in a few week’s time.
As for decorating around your tree’s aesthetic shortcomings, per Heather, “You can find the best side and put lights on it and will look great. And if there’s a big hole or too large of a space, you can put a special ornament there so it hangs right in the center. It’s like you’re showcasing the ornament.”
For the more crafty decorator, you can also ask about any extra trimmings that might be lying around on the lot, which you can take home to DIY your own wreath. And with all the money you save, you can buy that many more presents.