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Christmas tree alternatives

In my house, it’s the same debate every year: real tree or fake?

I love the look and smell of a real tree while my other half hates the dropped needles and the task of getting rid of the tree post holidays. In an effort to keep my house jolly and joy-filled this holiday season, I’m exploring some traditional-tree alternatives (but I still might sneak a real tree in).

Whether you’re short on space, away from home for the holidays or just looking to decorate in a more sustainable and innovative fashion this year, there are times when the standard tree just won’t do.

Space saving ideas

Lots of us live in condos. Space is at a premium and bringing in a tree can present a multitude of problems. So forget moving around the furniture and sacrificing your couch to make room for a 7-foot fir. I love the idea of getting the tree off the floor and on to the wall. This driftwood tree from is so simple and lovely.

Maintenance free

Heading out of town for the holidays? It’s still fun to add some cool yule to your space. Skip the tree skirt and back away for the tinsel. Stick with something that is low maintenance and fuss free. Why not unroll some craft paper and do a chalk tree drawing, taking inspiration from the ever wonderful Add some delicate white lights and a few colour coordinated Christmas balls. Works great on black paper too like this one that comes from Creates a festive feel that doesn’t require watering.

Green Christmas

If you just don’t like the idea of cutting down a tree or bringing plastic into your home, there are some really creative upcycled and repurposed Christmas tree alternatives. (Of course this is where we talk about a pallet project.)

Love or hate ‘em, a pallet is the perfect inspiration for an eco-friendly Christmas tree, this is a great example from Go big with or small like this one from Add some lights or simply attach a few of your favourite ornaments.

Think outside the box (and save yourself a trip into the basement to get that box). Repurpose items you already have.

I am a book lover and this book tree from just warms my heart. Then there’s the single book cut out tree which makes a fun Christmas craft. Check out the DIY on

Wondering what to do with all those Christmas cards (the ones you received and the ones you forgot to send)? Place them on the wall for a fun and affordable Christmas display, image from Studio Tout Petit.

Here are a few more unexpected items that make a beautiful holiday tree­–inside or out:

Buckets from 

Ladder from

Potted Tree from Desire to Decorate

Be sure to search your local site for upcycle inspiration.

No mess

This last one really caught my eye. It has everything one could want in a Christmas tree alternative: beautiful, space saving, easy on the earth and absolutely no mess. It is a picture of a Christmas tree printed onto a large piece of canvas. This one is perfect for keeping the peace in my house. Thanks to Cuckoo 4 Design for this amazing DIY.


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Freelance Writer, Mom to One and an avid believer in supporting local and living simply.

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