I love Christmas to the core. It’s my favorite time of year. And getting the Christmas tree has always been a big deal in our family. The annual argument over the actual height of the ceiling is part of the tradition.
“If we cut another inch off the bottom, then…”
“No! We aren’t cutting anything off! I’m telling you it will fit!”
Ahem, yes. We’re that household.
But circumstances change, and life happens. Sometimes a traditional Christmas tree just isn’t in the holiday plans. Maybe a live tree isn’t in the budget this year, or you’ll be traveling during the holidays; perhaps you have a newborn, and the mere thought of a tree is exhausting, or you’ve opted to keep things simple this year.
Whatever the reason, we’ve got plenty of non-traditional Christmas tree ideas to help you make your holiday merry and bright.
Live Non-Traditional Christmas Tree Options
Okay, so you’ve opted out of the big, fussy Christmas tree, but you still want something green. We’ve got a few inexpensive options for you.
1. Rosemary Shrub
Rosemary shrubs trimmed into Christmas trees make an easy alternative Christmas tree that serves double duty. Once the holidays are over, you’ve got a useful culinary plant that can live in your home or outside when the temperatures rise.
Plus, there’s no harm in pruning a few sprigs off – after all, rosemary has some wonderful uses.
2. Norfolk Island Pine
These ancient conifers pop up in stores every year and make an excellent living Christmas tree for anyone short on space. (Skip the ones coated in glitter.)
Their sturdy branches hold the weight of lights and ornaments well. I decorate my Norfolk Island pine every year to bring a bit of extra cheer to the den.
When the holidays are over, Norfolk Island pines make excellent houseplants. You can even move them outside for the summer. When December rolls around again, you’ll have your little Christmas tree at the ready again.
3. Dwarf Evergreens
Yet another popular option for those that don’t want a giant tree is dwarf evergreens, mainly for their size. You can find them as small as 6″ high up to several feet high, giving you plenty of options depending on your space and budget.
4. Decorate a Houseplant
Decorate a sturdy houseplant that you already have. With a string of fairy lights and a few small glass baubles, you’ll have a Christmas tree in a pinch. A few plants that make great options are snake plants, monstera, and pothos.
DIY Christmas Tree Options
The shape of a Christmas tree is pretty easy to duplicate with all kinds of household objects and things found in your backyard.
With a glue gun, tape or nails and a little creativity, you can have a beautiful Christmas tree. Whether your non-traditional tree will last for the season or for years to come is up to you and how much effort you want to put in.
5. Wood Pallet Tree
Use pieces from a wood pallet to construct this sweet minimalist tree. For a natural look, stain the wood or you can let the kids paint the tree with craft paints.
6. Hanging Branch Tree
Use twine or rope and branches to create the outline of a Christmas tree. Hang your tree on the wall to free up floor space. Use driftwood or raw wood and decorate your tree with your own ornament collection or create natural ornaments.
7. Wine Cork Christmas Tree
Save corks from each bottle you drink throughout the year and create this cute little wine cork tree. Add some fairy lights for a little twinkle.
8. Driftwood Christmas Tree
If you’re longing to be at the beach this Christmas, consider a driftwood Christmas tree. Make this tree by drilling holes through the middle of driftwood pieces and stacking them on a wooden dowel or metal rod inserted into a log.
9. Scrap Lumber Tree
If you’ve got a woodworker in the house or you’ve just finished a big DIY project, this tree is a great way to put scrap lumber to good use. Use thumbtacks to hang ornaments from your tree.
10. Nut Christmas Tree
We’re all a little nuts this time of year. Why not hot glue a selection of nuts to a styrofoam cone or cardstock rolled into a cone?
You can keep it simple and natural or dress up your tree with fairy lights, beaded garland or bows.
11. Pasta Tree
Nearly every mom has a Christmas ornament made out of dried pasta and glitter. Why not make a matching Christmas tree?
You can keep it simple or really glam them up. Hot glue shell pasta or bowtie pasta to a cone made of cardstock. Then get creative decorating your tiny trees.
12. Pinecone Christmas Tree
If you’ve got pinecones on your property, this tree is a great way to put them to good use. Hot glue a stack of pinecones to resemble the shape of a tree. Add cinnamon sticks and nuts to create a natural look.
Related Reading: 25 Festive Pine Cone Decorations, Ornaments & Crafts
13. Big Branch Tree
Cut smaller branches of raw wood into assorted lengths, then drill a hole in the middle of each piece. Assemble your tree with a wood dowel or metal rod. This makes a great outdoor decoration as well.
14. Button Tree
Cover a styrofoam cone in tin foil, then grab that old cookie tin filled with your grandmother’s button collection and some pins. Pin colorful buttons to your tree and enjoy!
15. Yarn Trees
Wrap colorful yarn around paper cones and then decorate your trees with pompoms, bows or wood beads. Using a hot glue gun, add glue to the cone as you wind to keep the yarn in place. Make a whole tiny Christmas tree forest!
16. Cardboard Christmas
If you’ve got lots of Amazon boxes from all of your Christmas shopping, you can reuse them by making cardboard Christmas trees.
Trace your Christmas tree on the cardboard and cut it out. Now use that tree as a template to cut a second one. Make a slit up through the middle of one of the trees ending about halfway. Now make a slit down through the top of the other tree, again ending halfway. Slide the two trees together using the slits.
17. Kid-friendly Felt Tree
Generally speaking, Christmas trees and toddlers don’t mix. Unless you make a felt tree with felt ornaments. Perhaps you could make a felt tree just for your kiddo to play with.
Keep It Simple and Quick
Whether you need a Christmas tree last minute or you don’t want a lot of fuss, these alternative Christmas tree options take mere moments to put together.
18. Beaded Garland
Grab the tape and a long string beaded garland or outline the shape of a tree on the wall. You’ll save floor space and have a tree as big or as small as you want.
19. Or Ribbon
20. Ladder Christmas Tree
This ladder strung with lights, and hanging Christmas baubles makes for a stunning alternative to the traditional evergreen.
Head to the garage and grab the step ladder. It’s the perfect Christmas tree shape! You can easily decorate it with lights, garland and ornaments.
21. Ladder Shelf
Slide boards across the steps of a step ladder to create shelves where you can place your gifts.
22. Twig Tree
A quick trip to the backyard or garden with a pair of pruning shears in hand will result in a simple and natural Christmas tree that’s easy to hang ornaments from.
23. Evergreen Boughs
Cut a few evergreen boughs and place them in a vase or jar to bring a bit of fresh greenery inside and for an instant tabletop tree.
24. Construction Paper Tree
Cut out strips of paper to look like branches, and cut out circles to make ornaments. Tape your tree up and go enjoy a less stressful holiday.
25. Wall Tree
Use bits of premade garland or evergreen twigs tied or glued to cardboard pieces to create the outline of a Christmas tree on your wall. Place presents underneath your wall tree and keep your space neat and tidy this year.
26. Hanging Branch Tree
Hang freshly sprigs of evergreen from a branch using twine to create a wonderfully smelling wall tree. You can hang Christmas lights behind the branches to create a soft, magical glow.
27. Wrapping Paper Wall Tree
Cut strips of colorful wrapping paper and tape them to the wall in the shape of a Christmas tree.
28. Present Stacks
If you’re all out of time and options and you still want a tree, stack your gifts in a Christmas-tree-shaped pile and top it all off with a bow.
29. A Bookish Christmas Tree
Grab a few books of different sizes and stack them in the shape of a tree. Drape your tree with lights and enjoy.
30. Wine Bottle Tree
This makes a great last-minute Christmas tree; fill an empty wine bottle with fairy lights and voila – an instant tree!
More Festive Ideas
Now that we’ve got the creative juices flowing you’re sure to find the perfect Christmas tree for your space this year.