The Giving Tree
This concept takes all the fun of an advent calendar and presents it in glorious 3-D. The baskets and envelopes hanging on the tree serve as the calendar’s “windows,” so every day in December a new one can be opened. Since bare is better when it comes to the tree, feel free to re-purpose an outdoors tree for this project. You can even just use a single sturdy branch supported in a bucket. Here, The New Christmas Tree author Carrie Brown used a fruit theme for all the gifts and decorations, but you can let your imagination run wild. Race cars? Sock monkeys? Wind-up toys? The theme (or no theme at all) is up to you.
Popcorn, Peanut, Pretzel, and Pickle Tree
This is the perfect tree for the often-overlooked people who prefer the salty and savory over the sweet. Pretzels and strings of peanuts and popcorn are festooned on the branches, interspersed with glass pickle ornaments (you can find them on eBay) or small cucumbers from the supermarket (be sure to replace as needed). The hardest part about making this tree? Stopping your guests from nibbling on it.