There are many interesting and creative ways to brighten up your home during the holidays without a Christmas tree. Many people have been looking for Christmas tree alternatives for years—beyond getting artificial trees. The reasons are many: It doesn't kill a tree; there's no dealing with pine needles; it doesn't take up floor space; and small children, pets, and trees can be a disastrous combination.
However, one of the best reasons for a Christmas tree alternative is they're creative. Try a twist on a holiday standard. It’s refreshing to think outside the box, so start fresh, and make a never-before-seen tradition of your own.
If you’d love to give an alternative to a tree a whirl this Christmas, take these 30 inventive ideas to spark your creative mind.
01 of 30
Branches and Fairy Lights
A Christmas tree hung on the wall is a fantastic space saver—you’ll be free from constantly running into a tree set up in the middle of a room. This wall tree is particularly magical, made up of natural tree branches, fairy string lights, and whimsical ornaments in a soft color palette. Pieces of twine bring it all together, creating a one-piece wall hanging.Continue to 2 of 30 below.
02 of 30
A Stack of Books
This tree is tailor-made for all those literature lovers out there or those with extensive collections of vintage books. Stack some of your favorite tomes in varying sizes to make a tree shape. Place them on top of a galvanized metal bucket to give it a base, and finish with a string of fairy lights and a star. Similarly hued books create a cohesive effect.Continue to 3 of 30 below.
03 of 30
Butcher Paper and Paint
For an alternative tree with a farmhouse look, use a sheet of butcher paper as a backdrop for a white, painted tree. Pine trees are relatively easy to reproduce. Just paint long, wispy strokes along a trunk, then once it’s dry, hang it on the wall using a piece of twine. A bit of garland will make your tree artwork look extra-joyful.Continue to 4 of 30 below.
04 of 30
A Dress Form
The form of a metal dress is reimagined as a Christmas tree, complete with white string lights and a marquee-style star. Whether a vintage find or purchased from HomeGoods, a dress form is undoubtedly an unexpected Christmas tree, making for a perfect conversation piece at holiday gatherings.Continue to 5 of 30 below.
05 of 30
A Photo Collage
Photos can be an almost effortless, modern way to display a Christmas tree. Here, a sequence of photos cleverly represents a pine tree from a single photo. Still, you can also tack up any beloved photos to form a tree shape—family photos, wintry vacation photos, photos in tree-like greens. The possibilities are endless.Continue to 6 of 30 below.
06 of 30
Pieces of copper pipes in descending lengths and white string work together to create an on-trend Christmas tree. Copper is having a moment, along with non-traditional holiday colors like teals and pastels. It’s a hardware store creation that acts beautifully as a 21st-century tree.Continue to 7 of 30 below.
07 of 30
These wooden trees, offering places to perch glass ornaments, play well with midcentury-inspired decor. The bright-blue ornaments pack a visual pop hung in wooden, tree-shaped a-frames that can be purchased on Etsy. Or you can try your hand at crafting them yourself.Continue to 8 of 30 below.
08 of 30
The shape of a ladder lends itself to being decorated as a tree. If you have a ladder on the small side, drape it in lights, mini keepsakes, ornaments, and a modern star. A white, fuzzy rug adds to the Scandinavian vibe of the scene.Continue to 9 of 30 below.
09 of 30
There are near-limitless uses for washi tape, including making an oh-so-minimalist Christmas tree. Purchase a roll or two in your preferred colors (this gold tape offers a hint of holiday sparkle) and tape a tree shape on your wall. You can add festive flair with a paper star and ornaments. Plus, washi tape is easily removable; you won’t be taking wall paint with it when you pull it off.Continue to 10 of 30 below.
10 of 30
This alternative tree appeals to those who love to bring the outside in or are self-proclaimed foragers, gathering natural materials from their backyards and neighborhoods. All you have to do is collect a grouping of seasonal branches (boxwood branches or pine boughs work well) and hang them on your wall, using clear, removable tape or white twine to string them together. An alternative tree never looked so simple and pretty.Continue to 11 of 30 below.
11 of 30
For something more modern and cool, try your hand at painting this geometric tree. The use of bright colors and the addition of fairy lights will bring whimsy to your living room.Continue to 12 of 30 below.
12 of 30
Gold is a gorgeous color at any time of year, but it's especially perfect for the holidays. These tiny trees will sparkle on your coffee table or mantel, giving the room some subtle, chic Christmas decor.Continue to 13 of 30 below.
13 of 30
This plywood tree is a minimalist's dream. Place this in a corner of your small space to blend seamlessly with the rest of your decor. Add some Scandi design elements like cozy textures and greenery. You'll need some woodworking skills to make this yourself, or you could ask a friend with a circular saw to help you out.Continue to 14 of 30 below.
14 of 30
Bright colors and bold design make this "tree" stand out. It couldn't be any easier, either, to set up this display. Gather your supplies of honeycombs and painter's tape, and your Christmas tree will be ready to go in a matter of minutes.Continue to 15 of 30 below.
15 of 30
Pyramid of Christmas Gifts
Who needs an actual tree when your mound of Christmas gifts can be stacked 3-dimensionally to represent a tree? To keep up the illusion, wrap all the gifts in forest green paper. And, if you don't plan on buying that many gifts this season, that's OK; wrap some empty boxes to fill in where you need to.Continue to 16 of 30 below.
16 of 30
Pine Cone Pyramid
To make a tabletop Christmas tree out of pine cones, you can start with a base like a slice of wood, a cake stand, or a wide-brimmed shallow planter. You can also forego a base and start with your biggest pine cones at the bottom to form the foundation. Most tutorials say you can also use foam core. However, the easiest method involves a lot of patience and a hot glue gun.
Continue to 17 of 30 below.
17 of 30
Plants Not Trees
If you've brought in a ton of plants for the winter season, then this idea is tailor-made for you. You'll need a sturdy table and two round wooden platforms. Think of making a large-scale cupcake stand, although in this case, your plants are your cupcakes. Of course, you'll be adding your unique spin by using your hand-raised plant collection. A perfect spot by the corner window is perfect for this idea. Put your sun lovers closest to the window with your partial sun and shadier specimens furthest from the light. And, if you don't have houseplants, buy a dozen poinsettias and get crackin'.Continue to 18 of 30 below.
18 of 30
Tiered Dessert Plate
If you have a tiered dessert plate or ornate cupcake, get festive by loading each tier with metallic ornaments, some thin garland, tinsel, or a strand of mini LED lights. To top it off, use a tealight to illuminate that corner of the room.Continue to 19 of 30 below.
19 of 30
Tropical Christmas Spirit
If you live in a tropical locale or vacation there every year, show off your shell collection by forming them into the shape of a tree. Save your starfish for a tree topper or make the tree stacked entirely of sand dollars, have your love of the beach shine through on Christmas Day—even if it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside.Continue to 20 of 30 below.
20 of 30
It's no secret that pegboards have become a staple of the highly-organized, but they also make adorable Christmas trees. Paint a pegboard cutout a festive minty color, then go crazy adding your favorite ornaments, garland, and tinsel.
Continue to 21 of 30 below.
21 of 30
Feature Your Hobbies
Much like the sports fan and their team-toting tree, nothing says "you" more than the hobbies that you're known for. If you love to knit or crochet, then a foam cone wrapped in festively wrapped yarn with mini ornaments strewn about might be right up your alley. Or, for an alternative to that, make tassels of yarn and stagger them in layers for a wispy tree.Continue to 22 of 30 below.
22 of 30
Put a Cork to Work
If you fashion yourself as a lover of wine or find traveling to vineyards your happy place, then amass your corks from the year, pile them into a conical shape, and top it with your favorite wine stopper.Continue to 23 of 30 below.
23 of 30
Dress Up Twigs
The point of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree is that you can make your tree beautiful no matter how sparse it is. If you have a vase full of branchy twigs, like grape wood, grab some colorful ornaments, hang them from colorful ribbons and make it your table centerpiece or room's focal point.Continue to 24 of 30 below.
24 of 30
Get children in on the action. Do they love playing with magnetic tiles? Encourage them to make tree shapes on the fridge door. They might not have enough Legos for a large tree, but they can interlock blocks to their heart's content and have a bedside table Tannenbaum.
Continue to 25 of 30 below.
25 of 30
That's a Lot of Sticky Notes
If you have a blank wall and were thinking of making a Christmas tree mural but wanted to add a little pop or a little texture, get sticky notes for a hassle-free idea. You don't need anything more than a giant block in the grassy green hue and post them up on your wall in a fun, feathered Christmas tree formation. Get some contrasting colors (like red) for your ornaments and think about a shining yellow star or a yellow halo of stick-its for your topper.Continue to 26 of 30 below.
26 of 30
Pile of Pots
If you're an avid gardener or like to keep plants during the warmer months, you likely have some extra pots (clay or terra cotta are preferred) lying around. If you turn them upside down and stack them from largest at the bottom to the smallest on top, they develop a tree-like profile. Paint them in an evergreen hue with acrylic paint and add rhinestones, beads, pom poms, and a mini garland to give it a fully festive feeling.Continue to 27 of 30 below.
27 of 30
Single Strand of Lights
One of the simplest ways to make a Christmas tree for your space with minimal effort is to get a single strand of lights. To make a simple Christmas tree shape, you'll need some nails, then gently wrap the lights around the nail guides. Keep the strand taut around the nails for a flawless, seamless look. A contrasting colored wall or a darker colored wall would work best; however, when the lights are out, it doesn't matter; it looks fabulous no matter what.Continue to 28 of 30 below.
28 of 30
If you have chalkboard paint left over from a previous project, now's the time to show off any artistic talent you have and make your space come alive with a chalked-out evergreen conifer. Embellish with pops of colored stickers for ornaments, strands of garland, and a stack of presents.Continue to 29 of 30 below.
29 of 30
Feathers give the wispy effect of fir branches and are a perfect crafting medium for fabricating tabletop Christmas trees. Big bonus if you get a bag of white feathers or have a white boa lying around, fan your feathers downward in a tree shape, and it looks like you have a snowy Christmas wonderland on your hands.Continue to 30 of 30 below.
30 of 30
Wintery Wooden Pallets
If you can get your hands on a wooden packing pallet and have some cutting tools and white paint laying around, you can make a Christmas tree alternative for next to nothing. Remove the nails from the pallet and separate the board. Then cut the lengths of the boards, from longest to shortest. Stack them, angle them downward (if you want), nail them together, and give the boards a white-washing. String a short sash of lights and add some simple ornaments for a minimalist but delightful tree.