21 Alternative Christmas Trees
Sometimes a traditional Christmas tree isn't in the cards. Maybe you're just not that into the falling pine needles, don't have storage space for an artificial tree (or room space for displaying a tree), or you just want to set up something fun and festive in a different room of your house.
Fortunately, with a little creativity, you can still create pretty, tree-like decor—without actually bringing a Christmas tree home.
These alternative Christmas tree ideas help spread holiday cheer while fitting into your home and lifestyle.
A cone-shaped styrofoam form, a few pinecones and dried fruit, and a little hot glue are all you need to create this little rustic Christmas tree.
A Gift Tree
Stack up beautifully wrapped gifts (or some big empty boxes) to form a tree shape.
Book Christmas Tree
All you need is a few books and a strand of garland or lights to create this charming Christmas tree for your reading nook. (Photocopy a few pages from a holiday favorite to snip and glue into a star at the top.)
A Wood Plank Tree
For this creative take on the traditional Christmas tree, lengths of wood are assembled together—and simple thumbtacks hold on the ornaments.
A Wintry Branch
Bare branches can be perfect for highlighting your favorite ornaments from each branch—stick with a single color scheme to give it a cohesive look.
Find a cone-shaped planting form, or use faux succulents and hot glue (plus a few choice ornaments) to create this unique tree.
Tiered Tray Tree
Rather than putting sweets and treats on your favorite tiered tray, load it up with pretty Christmas ball ornaments for a festive tree-like centerpiece.
A Garland-Wrapped Ladder
For a minimalist Christmas tree with a Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic, lean a wooden ladder against the wall, then adorn it with a faux pine garland and beautiful velvet stockings. If you miss the scent of real pine, mix a few sprigs of the real stuff into the garland to fill the room with the familiar aroma.
Take a photo of a tree and turn it into a large-scale print at your local office-printing store (like Kinko's or Staples). Attach it to a long wooden dowel and hang it like a tapestry with string. You can either leave the print as is, or add ornaments to a string and tape them to the tree.
Photo and idea from Almost Makes Perfect.
The Mini Tree
Even if you don't have room for a traditional Christmas tree, you can get the same look on a smaller scale. Instead of the 7-foot fir tree, opt for a 3- or 4-foot-tall one, and use a decorative metal planter in place of the typical tree stand and skirt. Then, keep the ornaments minimal so you don't overwhelm the branches.
A Chalkboard Tree
If you're ready to make a bigger commitment, designate a wall (or part of one) as your chalkboard wall. Coat it with chalkboard paint, let it dry, and change up the decorations and drawings according to the season. Here, a hand-drawn fireplace and tree create a whimsical vignette. Then use putty or tape to affix Christmas lights, a stocking, and leaves in the "frame" to add a 3-D effect. The whole scene is completed with a cozy lounge area in front of the wall.
Photo and idea from Mr. Kate.
Pineapple Christmas Tree
For countertop or table holiday displays, the humble pineapple can make a big splash with a little spray paint magic. Spray a fresh pineapple festive colors, or go silver and gold for a more sophisticated look. If you're feeling particularly crafty, you can even hang tiny ornaments from the leaves or tie a ribbon around the base. The painted pineapples will last four to five days, so save this alternative Christmas tree for just before the holiday.
For a trendy fringe effect, try adding strips of crepe paper in tiers. Fringe each strip with scissors and layer one on top of the other—you can play around with different color combinations, too. Tape paper stars and a tree topper to the fringe to finish the modern take on a Christmas tree.
Photo and idea from Clouds of Colour.
Felt Christmas Tree
This one's for the kids, and perfect for a playroom or bedroom: Create (or buy) a felt Christmas tree cutout, then use Velcro and felt ornaments to let your kids play and "decorate." (And hey—it may keep them away from fussing with the ornaments on a bigger Christmas tree, too.)
Modern Greenery Tree
You can still get that fresh pine fragrance without a tree—or relying on a scented candle. Take an extra-long wooden dowel and cut it into graduated sizes to create a triangle "tree" shape. Glue fresh evergreen branches or rosemary to the dowels. Once they're dry, attach the wooden pieces to the wall with painter's tape.
Photo and idea from Almost Makes Perfect.
This crafty Christmas tree idea brings in the feeling of a real Christmas tree, but without the added bulk of a large fir. Various-sized branches are strung together with rope and ornaments are hung from the branches. The whole "tree" is topped with a rustic-inspired star.
The Washi-Tape Tree
This washi tape DIY is a no-fail, last minute project. Create a tree design on a blank wall with patterned washi tape and attach strings of ornaments on the "tree" with clear tape. Customize it to your décor style by choosing different colored tape and adding other ornaments or details.
Photo and idea Homey Oh My.
Christmas Ornament Trees
When you're decorating a small space like an office cubicle or dorm room—or if you just want to put the focus on special vintage ornaments—look for tabletop ornament trees. They add a festive touch as a holiday table centerpiece.
Paper Triangle Tree
For a bold, colorful Christmas look, try this wall "tree" made of an assortment of cardstock, painter's tape, and string lights. Cut triangles out of the cardstock, then layer them on the wall in a tree shape with tape. For a finishing touch, trim the "tree" with string lights and push pins.
Photo and idea from Brit+Co.
Recycled Holiday Card Tree
Use last year's holiday cards (or this year's as they arrive in the mail) to form the tree's triangular body and use one vertical mailer for the stump. Create a loose arrangement on the floor first to make sure to form a shape you like. Attach them safely to your wall using a loop of painter's tape on the back of each card. Position your arrangement above a console table and use the surface to stash and stack your gifts beneath.
Pom Pom Christmas Tree
Turn yarn pom poms into a festive Christmas tree alternative—simply tape them to a door or wall in a tree shape, and attach tiny ornaments to complete the look.