"We've got a tree in our yard that we've ran over a couple of times and it looks better than that," said Will Stephens of Pelion to the AP, who came to take pictures of the tree with his wife after hearing it was looking a little raggedy.
Jane Suggs from the Columbia Garden Club called it a "recession tree," because it is smaller and less expensive. The non-profit club and the South Carolina Garden Club are in charge of providing the Christmas tree.
In Marion, Kan., the city council voted this year to not reimburse residents $10 for displaying Christmas lights, as in previous years. This year, city officials raised the garbage collection fee for residents by $18 per year. They decided it didn't make sense raise the fee, but then also vote to give residents back $10 to those who displayed Christmas lights.
And a couple in Chanhassen, Minn., who provided for 20 years what many residents argued was the state's most magnificent holiday light show, stopped being able to afford it in 2005.
"It just breaks my heart. People call me and ask whether we're doing it this year. I feel like crawling under a rug and pulling it over me," said Sandy Kendall, a real estate agent, in a phone interview with ABC News.
The Kendalls would cover several acres with hundreds of thousands of lights, animated figures and music.
"People would come here and forget their problems. If ever we need that, it's now. We hope the economy gets better," she said.
"There was one year we spent $70,000, when we bought a lot of stuff including the ferris wheel and the carousel. ...We'd buy hundreds of cases of lights at a time."
But Kendall and her husband Bob, an appraiser, did hold onto their reindeer, Jingles and Silver Belle. The Kendalls now just bring the reindeer to schools and shopping centers, for adults and children to see.
"That's the economy for you. I figure God didn't give us the money to do what we wanted to do, but he brought us our babies," Kendall said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.