30 Christmas Tree Alternatives for the Holiday Season

From Simple to Ornate

washi tape christmas tree on white wall with white furniture

@thiswildbunch / Instagram

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

    Tree branches, string lights, and ornaments hanging on wall in shape of Christmas tree

    @coxandcox / Instagram

    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.

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  • 02 of 30

    A Stack of Books

    blue colored books stacked on a metal base with lights in the shape of a tree with a star on top
    Lovely Etc.

    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.

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  • 03 of 30

    Butcher Paper and Paint

    White tree painted on butcher paper with presents in front

    @chelsea.mitch / Instagram

    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.

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  • 04 of 30

    A Dress Form

    Dress form wrapped in string lights with a star on top

    @petitesol / Instagram

    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.

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  • 05 of 30

    A Photo Collage

    Photo collage of lighted pine tree

    @deersphotos / Instagram

    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.

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  • 06 of 30

    Copper Pipes

    copper pipes shaped to look like a christmas tree with ornaments hanging
    A Joyful Riot

    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.

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  • 07 of 30

    Wooden Frames

    teal Christmas ornaments hanging from wooden a-frames

    @danslelakehouse / Instagram

    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.

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  • 08 of 30

    A Ladder

    Wooden ladder decorated with string lights and star on top

    @noelanilangille / Instagram

    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.

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  • 09 of 30

    Washi Tape

    washi tape christmas tree on white wall with white furniture

    @thiswildbunch / Instagram

    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.

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  • 10 of 30

    Seasonal Greenery

    Tree branches hanging on wall in the shape of a christmas tree

    @ajauntwithjoy / Instagram

    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.

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  • 11 of 30

    Geometric Pattern

    diy painted geometric christmas tree with string lights
    Lovely Indeed

    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.

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  • 12 of 30

    Gold Leaves

    diy gold leaf christmas tree
    Crafts Unleashed

    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.

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  • 13 of 30


    diy plywood christmas tree
    The Merrythought

    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.

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  • 14 of 30

    Colorful Honeycombs

    colorful honeycomb christmas tree
    Studio DIY

    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.

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  • 15 of 30

    Pyramid of Christmas Gifts

    Pyramid of wrapped 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.

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  • 16 of 30

    Pine Cone Pyramid

    DIY Pine Cone Tree Pyramid from HGTV


    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.

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  • 17 of 30

    Plants Not Trees

    Christmas tree made of house plants and branches

    @lazygardener.in / Instagram

    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'.

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  • 18 of 30

    Tiered Dessert Plate

    Tiered silver dessert plate with Christmas decor

    Artsy Chicks Rule

    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.

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  • 19 of 30

    Tropical Christmas Spirit

    DIY Sea Shell Christmas trees with pops of color


    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.

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  • 20 of 30

    Pegboard Transformed

    Pegboard Christmas Tree with colorful decor

    Sugar & Cloth

    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.

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  • 21 of 30

    Feature Your Hobbies

    colorful Yarn Christmas tree DIY

    A Beautiful Mess

    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.

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  • 22 of 30

    Put a Cork to Work

    DIY wine cork Christmas tree with star on top

    A Magical Mess

    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.

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  • 23 of 30

    Dress Up Twigs

    DIY Twig Christmas Trees with lights

    Shabby Art Boutique

    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.

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  • 24 of 30

    Toy Trees

    DIY Lego Christmas Tree with pops of color

    Hello Creative Family

    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.

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  • 25 of 30

    That's a Lot of Sticky Notes

    DIY Sticky Note Christmas Tree on white wall

    @jeffpatton / Twitter

    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.

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  • 26 of 30

    Pile of Pots

    Terracotta Pot Christmas Tree with pops of red

    The Best Ideas for Kids

    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.

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  • 27 of 30

    Single Strand of Lights

    String light Christmas Tree on wood

    Collective Gen

    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.

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  • 28 of 30

    Chalkboard Christmas

    Chalkboard paint Christmas tree with interchangeable numbers

    Alice and Lois

    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.

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  • 29 of 30

    Festive Feathers

    DIY Feather Christmas Trees with white and brown feathers

    Down Redbud Drive

    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.

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  • 30 of 30

    Wintery Wooden Pallets

    Wooden Pallet Christmas Tree with pockets

    Tamara's Joy

    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.