One of the unsung truths of the holiday season is that getting a big, expensive Christmas tree isn’t for everyone. There’s something so cheering and festive about a beautifully decorated tree, but for many reasons — perhaps you travel over the holidays, have a small living space, or simply consider yourself a minimalist — getting a large tree might not be appealing or even possible for you.
Nevertheless, you can still infuse your home with plenty of Christmas spirit. Here are four fun alternatives to a large, decorated cut tree.
1. Put a tree on your wall with ...
Chalk. To celebrate in style, you don’t have to get a real Christmas tree — or even an artificial one. A chalkboard wall can form a backdrop for a simple Christmas tree drawn in white chalk. If you are feeling ambitious, you could add more color with red and green chalk. If you don’t yet have a chalkboard wall, a can of chalkboard paint typically costs less than a large Christmas tree. Plus you’ll have a wall for drawing other festive holiday scenes year-round.
Washi tape. Use this simple tape to make a minimalist tree on your home or apartment wall. Tuck your wrapped presents beneath it for added cheer.
Cut branches. Houzz reader valesga crafted a creative wall tree of cut branches strung together with Christmas lights. You could create a similar arrangement with fallen branches from your backyard or a nearby park.
2. Create a treelike sculpture
“We are gone a lot of weekends in December and find it difficult to keep a fresh tree watered,” says Houzz reader Lynn Martin Dotterer. So instead of getting a live tree, they decorate a ladder. “This ‘tree’ makes for easy storage and is definitely a conversation piece,” Dotterer says.
3. Make it petite and sweet
A small tree can be a festive alternative to the classic large ones — plus you can typically find these trees potted with their roots in place, as opposed to cut. Depending on the type of tree you choose and the climate in your area, you may be able to plant the tree in your yard or even tend to it on your balcony. Perhaps your little tree can grow with you over the years.
That’s exactly what Houzz reader Garineh Dovletian did. “My husband brought this ‘tree’ home 17 years ago for my son’s first Christmas,” Dovletian said. “It was a tiny ‘Charlie Brown’ tree able to hold only one red ornament. The tree has grown with our son over the years and is very special to us.”
Another option is to choose a Norfolk pine, which looks similar to a Christmas tree but is actually a tropical houseplant.
4. Get a regular tree but keep decorations to a minimum
For those who would like a big, real tree but don’t want to fuss with (or purchase) all that tree decor, Houzz reader rachieleigh sets a great example. “Our tree is in the living room, very minimally decorated. I didn’t have a tree skirt and money is tight this year so I used an old Mexican blanket. I like it so much I plan to always use it in place of a tree skirt!”
Houzz reader Sarah BK faced a similar budgeting dilemma. “First year in our first house, so the budget is low,” she wrote last year. Dried orange slices and cranberries make for a festive, natural look for their tree. “Had to skip a popcorn strand because our pups would think it’s a snack tree.”