15 Fun and Festive Alternative Christmas Trees
'Tis the season to get creative and think beyond the traditional Christmas tree. We found plenty of crafty ideas, from tomato cages to teacups.
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An old ladder lifts the holiday tree to new heights. Wrap twinkle lights around the legs of the ladder. Using scissors, cut varying lengths of fishing line, looping one end around the top and the steps of the ladder. Tie ornaments to the other ends, allowing them to hang in the open space between the two sides of the ladder. Psst—we found the best Christmas market in every state!
When saws grow worn from cutting down the annual tree, forego the greenery and hang them as a festive focal point. Embellish with ribbon or other decorations, or add sparkle with a strand of mini LED lights (tuck the mini battery pack behind the saws to hide it). Don’t miss these cute winter crafts that add cheer to your home.
Tomato Cage Tree
Reader Jill Staake says this tomato cage Christmas tree is an inexpensive natural decoration that will delight wildlife. Trimmed with snack ornaments and a suet feeder, the tree will have birds flocking to it. Turn your tomato cage upside down and cover with fresh greenery, securing with twine, until completely covered. Arrange and trim with pruners. Decorate with cranberries, unsalted and unbuttered popcorn, birdseed ornaments, peanut butter coated pine cones, and a suet cage. Secure tree to the ground with stakes or bricks. Next, check out these adorable DIY Christmas wreath ideas.
Winter Wonderland Teacup
Build a magical winter fairy garden in your vintage teacups. It’s so easy, and anything goes! Look for tiny trees from model train sets, dollhouse miniatures, or ceramic figures from thrift and antique shops. Fill cup with marbles, cover with artificial moss. Then decorate with accents and sprinkle with artificial snow, if desired. Here are more fun ways to repurpose your vintage teacups.
Christmas Card Tree
Using washi tape, it’s a snap to decorate a plain wall in your house with a simple Christmas tree design. As you receive them, add your holiday cards for a fun and festive display. Check out creative crafts ideas to make with your old Christmas cards.
Odds and ends too pretty to toss form a set of sparkly Christmas trees. Build your tree shape with repurposed antique finds, starting with the larger items on the bottom, working up to smaller pieces at the top to create a conical shape. Use drops of industrial glue to adhere pieces, pressing firmly until set. Top each tree with a decorative topper, using glue to adhere. You’ll love these vintage Christmas decorations!
Pine Cone Tree
Pine cones mimic their parent conifers in these tabletop designs. Spray-paint pine cones with green paint. Dry completely. Fill pots or votive candleholders with crumbled tissue paper. Insert pine cone trees into the bases, and adhere with hot glue. Spare paint decorative stars if desired. Allow to dry and adhere with hot glue. Here’s how to make a DIY advent calendar with a muffin tin.
Rustic Christmas Tree
Ask the kids to gather sticks and twigs from the yard for this earthy decoration. Glue to a rectangular piece of barnwood or rustic wood for the background, and attach star-shaped wood cutouts and decorative snowflakes. These DIY holiday gifts won’t break the bank.
Pretty Paper Tree
Gather 12-inch square scrapbook papers (or leftover wrapping paper) and glue for this project. Cut paper into multiple 1 inch by 2 inch rectangles. Set aside one half of one sheet to make a cone for the treetop. With hot glue gun, affix a horizontal row of paper rectangles from bottom edge of cone. Continue forming rows, leaving bottom ends free. Slightly bend loose ends upward to create dimension. This festive Christmas tree napkin fold will make your table extra cheery.
Grapevine Cone Tree
Wrap burlap ribbon around a grapevine cone. Accent with red twine, dried fruit slices, faux berries and a star cut out of burlap or cardstock. Use hot glue to adhere, let dry thoroughly. Or leave unadorned for a simple look. Here are several uses for your real Christmas tree after the holidays.
Adorn your tabletop with a shimmering tree of jewelry. Cover a green foam cone with glitter spray paint; let dry. Glue strands of costume pearls around cone for garland, and pin brooches for tree ornaments. If using clip-on earrings, remove clips with pliers before attaching to tree. Glue a large brooch to the top of the cone as a tree topper. Stand your tree on a candlestick to show it off on your table or mantle. This is what Christmas looked like the year you were born.
A veggie-bedecked Christmas tree looks beautiful on a buffet table, and it’s a real conversation starter. Designer Kari Black in Port Ludlow, Washington, says guests will relish the chance to snack smartly during the holidays. To make it, glue together styrofoam cake rounds and attach a styrofoam cone on top. Wrap the form in cheesecloth dyed with green food coloring. Attach kale leaves with toothpicks, then add veggie trims: radish roses, carrot slice curls, pepper rings, zucchini rounds, turnip snowflakes, and more! Try more recipes with a Christmas tree shape.
Shiny ball ornaments don’t have to trim the tree—they can be the tree! This one hangs in a frame with a 10- by 13-inch opening. For each row of the tree, lay a wire piece horizontally across the back of the opening. Use a staple gun to tack one wire end to the frame, string on ornaments and staple the other end. Secure the staples with a mallet and bend the wire ends over the staples Add a bow as the tree topper. Learn how to make the best-ever gift basket for a crafter.
Use bare wall space to hang small picture frames in the shape of a Christmas tree. You’ll create a heartwarming family tree of memories to enjoy all season long. The whole family will enjoy these snow day activities.
Favorite Teacher Tree
Teachers will love this festive tree. The stacked wooden blocks are covered with black chalkboard paint, so you can write on them with chalk. Paint the other sides green and brown, distress the edges and add crackle paint medium to the trunk. The wooden star is painted black, covered with crackle paint medium and yellow paint, and attached to the top block of the tree with large-gauge wire. Teachers will love these tasty gifts, too.