EDITOR’S NOTE: You can read more of Aldi Reviewer’s thoughts on Aldi’s Christmas items at this link.
I might over-decorate for Christmas a wee bit. I might have a whole section of storage boxes in my basement that get hauled upstairs every year to turn my normally minimalist house into an extravaganza of nativities (I have three), snowmen (too many to count), lights, candles, and so forth.
Even so, I found myself drawn to buying more decor at Aldi this year to replace items that had gotten old / worn / gone missing over the years. Here’s a roundup of my Christmas decor purchasing this year:
Huntington Home LED Lights, $3.39: Highly Recommended
Most of my old lights were burned out, and I was happy to finally switch to 100% LED lights this year. At $3.39 per 13-foot strand, the Aldi lights were a bargain. The store sells both white and multi-colored lights in two sizes: small mini-lights and oversized “old-fashioned” style lights. We put the small ones outside and strung the larger ones on the tree. They look great, were very affordable, and won’t make my December energy bill skyrocket. These are a win!
Huntington Home Door Mat, $9.99: Highly Recommended
I bought one of Aldi’s autumn-themed doormats earlier this year and was impressed with its looks, quality, and actual ability to clean dirt off of kids’ shoes. At $9.99, a good, durable door mat is a bargain. So of course I was happy to see the Christmas selections. I bought one of the mats that looks like Santa’s belted waist because I’m a sucker for whimsical Christmas decor. It looks great on my porch under Aldi’s ornament wreath. My porch is covered, keeping the mat dry and away from the sun, so I think this purchase will last me through several Christmases.
Huntington Home Ornament Wreath, $9.99: Recommended with Reservations
Aldi’s ornament wreath comes in two color schemes: a traditional red, green, and gold, and a more modern version with pink, silver, and teal. I wanted the pink one, but my son (who is my official decorating assistant) talked me into the traditional colors. I’m glad he did because the colors coordinate better with the mutli-colored LED lights and the door mat, too. At night, the gold ornaments reflect the light from the LED strands, giving the wreath a nice “glow” without actually needing battery-powered lights.
The only issue I have with the wreath is that it’s rather fragile. Just taking it out of the box resulted in one ornament popping off in such a way that I couldn’t re-attach it. Fortunately, it doesn’t really show while hanging up. But I doubt this will last very many years going in and out of storage.
Benton’s Gingerbread House Kit, $5.99: Recommended for Those Who Follow Instructions
My children love decorating cookies and cakes, so I picked up the Gingerbread House Kit as soon as I saw it in stores. It comes with a pre-cut house, tree, gingerbread person, icing, and candy. Unlike other kits I’ve used, it provides a plastic base to hold the house, tree, and person. It also comes with instructions on the back of the box. This is important to note: it comes with instructions.
There are two types of people in this world: those who read instructions first and those who start by ignoring written instructions and only look for them when there’s a problem, even digging them out of the trash to do so. I fall into the second category.
In short, we iced the house all wrong. Instead of applying the icing first (per instructions), we propped up the house and then iced the seams. This resulted in a shaky structure that needed to be propped up by cups and medicine bottles overnight while it dried. It took us a whole weekend of propping and drying to get the house finished instead of an hour. The children didn’t mind because they liked the project, but I was frustrated … until I read the instructions and realized my mistake.
On the plus side, the kit came with plenty of icing to do the job, even doing it wrong like we did. And it had enough candy to stand a little “filching” along the way. In the end, we have a house that would tempt Hansel and Gretel and a life lesson about “why we follow instructions” that I’m sure I’ll forget the next time I bring home a “simple” project.
Huntington Home Light-Up Spiral Tree Set, $19.99: Test It First
My front yard doesn’t have any trees, so I bought this set to complement my LED lights. Setting it up was easy (we actually followed the instructions this time), but there was a slight problem: it didn’t work. The larger tree was half burned-out and the smaller tree didn’t light up at all. I had them both up and staked into the grass before plugging them in and discovering that they didn’t light.
The afternoon I set them up was a bit windy, and I also doubted whether the trees were sturdy enough to stand up in a strong wind, even with the ground stakes. If you buy them, I recommend first plugging them in indoors to test them and consider securing them with additional weights or stakes once you get outside.
Thanks to Aldi’s generous return policy, I’ll be able to get my money back and a replacement product, so we’ll see if they work the second time around.
Bonus: Christkindl Gluhwein, $4.99 in MO
After a long day of shopping, decorating, and wrapping presents, what could be better than a warm glass of mulled wine, fragrant with citrus, clove, and cinnamon? I look forward to this Special Buy every year. I’ve even been known to cook with it: you can reduce it to a sweet, spicy, non-alcoholic sauce that goes beautifully on pork or turkey. Warmed up in a Christmas mug (of course), I like to pair it with one of Aldi’s Pfeffernusse Iced Gingerbread Cookies. Nothing says “Christmas by Aldi” like unpronounceable treats from Germany.