17 Christmas Tree Alternatives That Will Blow Your Mind
Skip the traditional Christmas tree this year in favor of these artistic alternatives.
Though the holiday season is undeniably one of the most joyous times of the year, one of the downsides is that it's also one of the most expensive. According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales this season are expected to increase once again by anywhere from 4.3 to 4.8 percent, bringing this year's total spending to a projected $720.89 billion.
But while you might assume that gifts are the only thing draining your bank account, there are a surprising number of other holiday-related expenses, like Christmas trees, that contribute to all the excess spending.
All of the parties you host and the decorations you buy throughout the holiday season really start to add up after a while, and it's in those areas especially that you can learn how to cut costs and save yourself some money. To help get you started, we've compiled a list of Christmas tree alternatives that you can put up to avoid spending $100 on a real fir or spruce—we promise that Santa won't mind.
String Light Christmas Tree
If you want your Christmas decorations to shine as bright as your holiday spirit, then look no further than this DIY string light tree courtesy of A Pair and a Spare's Geneva Vanderzeil. Using just pine wood, a drill, screws, and some twine, the blogger was able to transform fairy lights into a one-of-a-kind Christmas tree perfect for small spaces (and with her easy instructions, so can you!).
Ladder Christmas Tree
The ladder Christmas tree has all of the wow factor that you'd expect from your traditional tree without any of the messy shedding. It's bright, it's big, it's bold—and best of all, it won't cost you a penny to put together, so long as you already have a ladder and some lights stored away somewhere.
Crepe Paper Christmas Tree
Deck the halls with boughs of crepe paper! Fine, so maybe that's not how the song goes, but you can't deny that this crafty Christmas tree made by blogger Bec Brown of Clouds of Colour is cute. Plus, seeing as the entire thing is made of just tasseled crepe paper and construction paper stars, replacing your usual tree with a crepe one this year could save you quite a pretty penny.
Tomato Cage Christmas Tree
If you thought that your gardening supplies couldn't go to good use during the winter months, then you just haven't been thinking outside the box. Using these easy-to-follow instructions from Mary and Tim Vidra, the bloggers behind 17Apart, you can easily repurpose your leftover tomato cages from the summer and turn them into fun little Christmas trees to be used as either indoor or outdoor decorations.
Post-It Notes Christmas Tree
"This is a really good project if you spend very little time at home or don't want to buy a real tree," Vanderzeil wrote on her blog about her ingenious DIY tree made out of Post-it Notes. If you want to make this simple decoration at home, then all you need to do is pick up a few materials—some Post-It Notes, a few ornament-shaped cards, a star, and some double-sided tape—and follow Vanderzeil's easy instructions (found here).
What makes the Post-It Note tree stand out amongst the other Christmas tree alternatives is the fact that you can actually write on it. Should you choose to make a Post-It Note tree, take advantage of the uniqueness of your decor and consider making it a nightly ritual in December to have your kids write down something that they're grateful for on one of the tree's "leaves."
Washi Tape Christmas Tree
This adorable Christmas tree alternative courtesy of Homey Oh My's Amy Kim is so simple to do that it doesn't even warrant instructions. "I cut out pieces of Washi tape and taped them to the wall," Kim wrote, "[and] boom."
This creative Christmas tree design is perfect for all of the bookworms out there with more novels than their bookshelf allows for. Once your books are piled high in the shape of a spruce, just hang some garland, throw a star on top, and voila: your pile of novels is now the centerpiece of your holiday decor.
Birch Branch Christmas Tree
If you have some old ornaments lying around, then you already have half of the materials necessary to put together this rustic birch branch Christmas tree. And even better: If you know someone with a birch tree in their yard like Katie at View From The Fridge happened to, then you might not have to spend anything at all to make this masterpiece.
Ruler Christmas Tree
If your Christmas decorations tend to be simple with a farmhouse flair, then this tree made out of rulers will fit right in. Though its construction requires minimal effort and few supplies, we guarantee that this DIY tree will rule supreme in your seasonal setup.
Painted Christmas Tree
You don't have to have the painting skills of Picasso to master the art of outlining a Christmas tree. And don't fret: Even if you do happen to mess up, your pretty ornaments will dutifully cover up any blemishes.
Christmas Tree Advent Calendar
This DIY Christmas tree kills two birds with one project. Not only does it take the place of a traditional Christmas tree, you can also fill it with chocolate or something else sweet to turn it into an advent calendar. And that's not even the best part of this project: Since all you need to make it is things like cardboard, paint, and paper towel rolls, this entire project shouldn't cost you more than $10. Ready to get started? Check out the instructions here via Premeditated Leftover's Alea Milham.
Twig Christmas Tree
Do you happen to have some sticks scattered around your backyard? Great. Now all you need is Command strips, and you're ready to make this fun and festive Christmas tree. Head to The Art of Doing Stuff for a complete how-to.
Polaroid Christmas Tree
Want an authentic Christmas tree but don't want to dole out hundreds of dollars on something that's only going to be useful for a month? Then you'll love this Polaroid Christmas tree project. It combines photos of real firs and spruces with LED lights to give off that authentic Christmas tree feeling—and since photos can't wilt or die, you can reuse this alternative every year to avoid spending money on decorations.
Pom Pom Garland Christmas Tree
Brighten up your holiday décor with a Christmas tree made entirely out of pom pom garlands. With so much color and design built into the basic structure of this spruce, you won't even need to pick up any extra ornaments or garlands to help it embody the vibrant Christmas spirit. Ready to get started? Check out the how-to on Cakies.
Paper Fan Christmas Tree
If you prefer decadent decorations over the classic Christmas colors, then this paper fan tree will fit in nicely with your overall aesthetic. The best part? All you need are paper fans, tape, a stapler, and some string to throw this beauteous bauble together. Head to Party HarDIY for a full step-by-step guide on how to assemble this seasonal tree.
Cardboard Christmas Tree
Grab some cardboard from your local recycling center and upcycle it into this easily customizable Christmas tree. Once you have the structure of your tree all set up, you and your kids can make a fun project out of decorating it with everything from homemade ornaments to handwritten notes.
Wine Cork Christmas Tree
You're going to be enjoying a few bottles of wine with friends this season anyway, so why not repurpose your wine corks and make them into a fun little Christmas tree? Once you have your cork collection ready to go, head to Decor By The Seashore for step-by-step instructions.
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