I wouldn't say I'm anti-Christmas tree, but I certainly wouldn't say I'm pro. While I love how they look in other people's homes, I don't feel overly inclined to have one of my own. Real Christmas trees are a hassle before, during, and after; you lug it from the farm to your front door, decorate around needles that, if they don't poke you, fall onto your floor, and then are left to figure out a safe disposal method. And though, if made to choose, I would opt for an artificial version, the reality is that my apartment has both limited floor space and storage. So say I made room in the right corner for it to sit for the month of December, where does it go for the rest of the year?
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This is my long-winded way of saying: I don't believe choosing to forgo a traditional Christmas tree makes you a Scrooge. The season is about creating an environment that gets you into the holiday spirit, and we're not all the same — and we certainly aren't all working with the same space. For me, I love garland around the mantle, red berry branches in my vases, and plenty of string lights. Others might opt for a poinsettia bouquet, ornamented ladder, or even something DIY, proving that, no matter your style, there is a Christmas tree solution for you.
If this year you're looking for a unique way to celebrate the holiday season, we found 13 Christmas tree alternatives that can add instant cheer to any home.
1. Use your existing plant life — just dress it up a bit.
If you'd rather not shell out for a Christmas tree, take a look at the larger plants in your home. A fiddle leaf fig can easily play the part when dressed up in some twinkle lights and simple ornaments. And if you're finding that your plants are less than inspiring (or equipped) for a Christmas makeover, grab a new one. A live plant will last more than just the holiday season and is considerably more affordable than a large tree.
2. Create a "tree" collage.
A meaningful and minimalist approach, this is as easy as taping up letters, cards, or pretty pieces of paper in a triangle shape to channel a unique Christmas tree-like concept. Get started by grabbing some eye-catching holiday stationery and then mix and match, sprinkling in cute, sentimental, and perhaps even cheesy cards. While you can create the look with those you receive this holiday season, you can also buy new cards that have meaning (or just look good) to you. Paper Source has plenty of seasonal options.
3. Grab a branch and pom-pom it up.
Head outside and see if there are any small, spare branches around. Remove any excess leaves and then keep it as is or paint it a festive color of your choice. You can purchase a package of multi-color pom-poms from any craft store and then hang the poms from your twig-constructed tree. And if you love this idea but your taste leans a little less rustic, swap out a branch for a small gold tinsel tree and finish it off with pom-pom garland.
4. Downsize with a miniature tree.
If it's not that you don't like Christmas trees so much as you don't like the typical size of Christmas trees, consider trying something smaller. An artificial, miniature tree still brings festivity to your home without taking up too much space. This pre-lit one from Pottery Barn is a perfect example.
5. Jump on the pineapple trend.
This is for those who say "Forget the snow, I've got time off work, take me to the beach!" It's the five-o'clock-somewhere approach to Christmas decor. If you want to go full summer, decorate your pineapple Christmas tree with fruit ornaments. And why not grab a pineapple-hatted nutcracker to really enforce the theme?
6. Create an ornament display with a ladder.
You can still achieve the grandeur of a tree without one. Grab a wooden ladder and some string lights and display your ornament collection or stockings for the members of your household. And rather than a traditional tree skirt, add a small holiday-themed mat at the foot.
7. Display a macrame "tree."
It's the bohemian thing to do. Etsy seller Braid Mate specializes in macrame wall art, including seasonal varieties. The shop's hanging, hand-crafted Christmas tree is a subtle nod to the holiday and is available in two sizes.
8. Use tree scraps to make a mini-arrangement.
This is as easy as spending a few dollars at your local tree supplier, or better yet, getting a friend to give you their trimmings. Or, if real pine sets off your allergies, you can always opt for something faux. Once you've found your perfect trimmings, beautify them with a vase and a few small ornaments, and create a sort of Christmas-Tree-in-a-glass. Compared to a real tree, this is relatively mess-free. Plus, it's a great way to save on space, just add it to the center of a table or atop a mantle.
9. DIY a small wood dowel tree.
Homey Oh My's DIY wood dowel tree is the perfect solution for small spaces. But if you're not wanting to take such a hand-crafted approach, there are plenty of options available online. Simply add a small string of lights to your wooden tree to create a soft, natural piece of holiday decor.
10. Keep it simple but bright.
Your decorations don't have to be elaborate. Personally, I like a warm glow around the holidays. It sets the tone without making me feel like I'm living inside a Hallmark store. This season, I'll be opting for a faux tree branch created out of soft, LED lights.
11. Style it up with some succulents.
Who says a tree needs to be made of pine? Making a DIY mini succulent tree is actually quite simple. Or, leave the crafting to Etsy seller Succulent Artworks and grab one of the shop's popular live succulent Christmas trees.
12. Find a new way to display your candles.
For some, the glow of LED Christmas lights might be headache-inducing, or perhaps the thought of the post-Christmas electric bill gives you the shivers. So rather than a traditional tree covered in bright, twinkling lights, opt for some tea light candles, which you likely have on hand, and a unique, holiday-inspired display.
13. Create a washi tape display.
Washi tape is ridiculously handy. This idea could be particularly useful if you're Airbnb-ing for the holidays and looking for a temporary, easy-to-clean Christmas tree solution. Make it a little more special with holiday-inspired washi tape.