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Here are 5 Great Alternatives to Traditional Christmas Trees

a small wooden-frame Christmas tree in a stylish modern apartment.
Oxik/Shutterstock

The green fir tree is an iconic symbol of Christmas. But what if your landlord doesn’t allow one, or you don’t have space? Or you might be allergic to real Christmas trees! Whatever the reason, we’ve got five excellent alternatives for you to try out this Christmas season.

Wooden Trees

A wooden tree can bring the spark and joy of Christmas, without any of the mess that comes with a real tree. The advantage of making or buying a wooden tree is that it can last for years to come. It’s a great option if you want something simple that doesn’t take any effort (well, apart from making it the first year).

Store-Bought Designs

There are some beautiful ready-made designs out there, but be prepared—they often come at a hefty price. However, if you plan on using it for a long time, it’s well worth the investment.

This 5′ Beaded Wood Christmas Tree from Etsy is stunning but costs $185. Still, if you have the cash, it’ll be a wonderful addition to your Christmas decor.

This 2′ Wood Christmas Tree is another great option, with plenty of knobs to hang ornaments from. The price is around $135.

DIY Wooden Tree

Wanting to make something yourself? This DIY standing faux tree is made from copper and wood.  It’s simple, elegant, but effective. Plus, you can easily hang ornaments and lights from it!

Here’s what you need to make it:

  • Pine boards: Read instructions for specific sizes.
  • Miter saw
  • Stain
  • Cloth
  • Wood glue
  • Clamp
  • Hammer
  • Finishing nails
  • Copper pipes
  • Pipe cutter
  • Marker
  • Tape measure
  • Drill + bit
  • Wood screws

Read the full tutorial at HGTV.

Hanging Trees

These ideas take your Christmas “tree” into the air! They are a perfect solution if you want to make use of high ceilings. They are also great if you have small children underfoot, or curious pets ready to chomp on dangling Christmas lights.

Here are a couple of ideas you can make on your own, as well as an option to buy if you’re running out of time.

Hanging Birch Log Tree

A simple hanging Christmas tree shape made from birch branches.
Christina Wedge/HGTV

This is an easy design that doesn’t take long to make. You’ll end up with a rustic display, one you can easily tie ornaments on or add extra flourishes—such as pine cones, leaves, or pine tree branches. It should last you many years, as long as you pack it away with care.

Here’s what you need:

Read the full tutorial at HGTV.

Macrame Christmas Tree

This is a great option if you’re looking for extra space to store Christmas stuff off the ground. You can use the shelves to place gifts, Christmas knickknacks, flameless candles, pine tree branches, the possibilities are endless!

All you need are pieces of wood (for the shelves) and cotton clothesline material (to do the macrame).

Ready to make it? Read the full tutorial at Lia Griffith.

Hanging Twig Tree

If you don’t have the time or energy to make something on your own, consider buying this basic hanging twig tree at Target. You can use colorful ribbons to secure your ornaments and spruce it up with battery-operated twinkle lights.

Wall Trees

A toddler pulling on a felt ornament stuck to a flat felt Christmas tree hanging on the wall.
JollyLife

Similar to hanging trees, but secured safely on the wall. You need to have available wall space to put these designs to use, but they’re a perfect solution if you don’t have a ton of floor space. Plus, you reduce the risk of a tree (or ornaments!) falling over onto small children or pets.

The simplest option is using a Christmas Tree Wall Decal. Simply open the package and stick it on the wall. Getting into the Christmas spirit doesn’t get much easier than this!

You can also buy a Felt Christmas Tree kit, one that has stick-on ornaments your kids can easily put on and remove. Feeling extra crafty? Watch this video on how to make your own felt tree.

Another popular idea is painting a chalkboard tree. Watch this video for inspiration. You can secure ornaments to the wall right over the tree using tacks or small nails. Dangle lights around the tree for extra holiday flair.

Potted Plants

Who says you need an actual tree to get into the Christmas spirit? You can hang ornaments and lights from your existing house plants! What a great way to save time and money. Set them all into one corner, place them on a table, or scatter them on shelves.

You can also consider getting a small potted fir tree, one that you can dress up for the holiday season, and then plant after the New Year. This is a great option for anyone who feels guilty about chopping down a live tree to only toss it out a month later.

Christmas Tree Crafts

A “tree” doesn’t have to be big and tall to be effective. You can set up a small card table and display all kinds of Christmas tree crafts. Or, pin them up around the living room, adding some Christmas cheer everywhere you turn.

Here are a few easy and fun ideas to get you started:

That, of course, just scratches the surface of Christmas tree crafts, so feel free to search Google for crafts to make with the supplies you have on hand!


You don’t have to follow the traditional route to fully enjoy and appreciate Christmas. It’s okay to break out of the box and do something different. Go ahead and get creative, leaving the hassle of pine needles for someone else.

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »

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