9 Unique Christmas Tree Alternatives to Try If You Don't Want a Traditional Evergreen This Year

In lieu of a traditional fresh (or faux!) tannenbaum, these creative DIY ideas make for stunning holiday-time focal points.

scandinavian christmas tree with wooden ornaments in living room
Photo: Roland Bello

For many, buying a Christmas tree is a tradition no holiday season would be complete without. For others, it's the most tasking part of the joyful time of year. Its needles splay all over the floor, its trunk requires constant watering, and even its branches can be a nuisance if you have curious pets.

What if we told you there was a way to keep the ethos of a holiday evergreen without committing to the maintenance of a real tree or the price of an artificial version? From wall mounted iterations to wooden dowel designs, there are plenty of Christmas tree alternatives that can serve as the focal point of your holiday décor.

The best part about these DIY tree replacements is that you can create them with friends and family, so the tradition of choosing and decorating your annual evergreen lives on.

01 of 09

Wooden Dowel Tree

tree tissue ornaments tinsel
Jessica Antola

Similar to an artificial tree, this wooden dowel design can be assembled and disassembled year-after-year. To cut down on maintenance even further, fill the tree with honeycomb balls, which pack flat after the holiday season comes to an end. We love the monochromatic look achieved here with baubles and tinsel in various pink hues, but you can use any ornaments that call to you to decorate the wooden "fir."

02 of 09

Twee Twist Tree

christmas tree wooden ornaments
Nico Schinco

Ask your children to help you with this Charlie Brown-inspired tree. They'll love knowing presents are being opened underneath their very own design on Christmas morning. For this alternative, set up a feathered sapling and adorn it with baubles picked out by your little ones. We love creating "candy canes" for a fun DIY ornament—they're made by twisting together two pipe cleaners in contrasting colors, cutting them in half, and bending them at the tips.

03 of 09

Mini Christmas Tree Village

mini christmas trees
Ryan Liebe

Why have one Christmas tree when you can have a whole village? Dust a handful of faux conifers with white paint and you're well on your way to creating this snowy mantel masterpiece. We recommend using a variety of shapes, heights, and colors to give the scene more dimension. Complete the charming look with a few votive candles to make the display feel like a winter village.

04 of 09

Feather Christmas Tree

crystal decorated Christmas tree
Kate Mathis

Go vintage with a stunning feather tree in lieu of a bigger evergreen. The design became popular in American department stores in the early 1900s, but we think it's a worthwhile addition to your current holiday décor arsenal. To keep with the retro theme, adorn the tree with antique ornaments, which can be sourced from secondhand stores, flea markets, and garage sales. Here, we used glass ornaments in shades of green, bronze, and silver.

05 of 09

Icicle Christmas Tree

Christmas tree decorated with icicle ornaments
Sang An

If you're someone who loves a themed tree, this fuss-free creation is for you. We used an ice-blue lucite tree but you can achieve the look by assembling acrylic dowel rods in the same shape as the one pictured here. Adorn the faux conifer with icicle ornaments and silver baubles to evoke the aesthetic of a white Christmas. Finish the mother nature-inspired design off with a star tree topper.

06 of 09

Wall Mounted Tree

wall Christmas tree idea for small spaces
Johnny Miller

Conserve space in your home by opting for a 2-D tannenbaum. To make it, simply outline a Christmas tree on your wall with hooks, then lay pieces of lush garland on top. You'll want greenery that looks full and healthy to further the illusion of a real tree. Decorate it as you would a normal tannenbaum—we used a mix of miniature mercury-glass ornaments in silver and gold and bulb ornaments.

07 of 09

PVC-Pipe Tree


This truly creative look also pulls double duty as wall art during the holiday season. You'll need PVC-pipe in different sizes to achieve the whimsical look—then it's all about coming up with the perfect color palette. Go classic and stick to rich reds and deep greens, or try something different and opt for bright, cheery colors, like we did here. Attach the pipe pieces to a piece of wood in the shape of a Christmas tree, then fill each with ornaments, toys, bows, and more.

08 of 09

Foliage Branches


Believe it or not, you can forage your own holiday tree. Simply take a walk through your neighborhood and gather up a handful of uniquely shaped foliage branches. Coat them in paint—we like bone white for an elevated look—and let them dry before arranging them in a vase. Hang your favorite ornaments from the branches for a simple, cost-effective Christmas tree. To replicate the jasperware ornaments we used here, simply use Paperclay modeling material and German springerle-cookie molds (painting store-bought architectural ornaments work, too).

09 of 09

Paper-Punched Christmas Trees

paper Christmas trees
Burcu Avsar

Create a winter wonderland by grouping together a handful of homemade paper Christmas trees. To make them, use a craft punch to create circles in graduated sizes. Then cut the circles in half, roll them into cones, and secure with double-sided tape. Next, cut a skewer for the tree. Snip the tip off the largest cone and slide it down the skewer, securing with hot glue. Repeat with the progressively smaller cones. Instead of snipping a hole in the top cone, simply glue it onto the skewer. For the final step, put the skewer into the wood bead's hole and glue in place.

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