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20 Wacky Ways to Decorate Your Christmas Tree

Forget tinsel, ornaments, and stars: these crazy, cool Christmas tree themes were inspired by everything from books to beer.

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Three atypical Christmas trees: one made from cans, a pink one, and a Charlie Brown,, Getty Images (2)

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree

Looking to spruce up your blue spruce? Well, you’ve come to the right place! The holiday season is all about creating joy and celebrating your loved ones—and what better way to do that than by dressing up your Christmas tree? And while holiday traditions are lovely and all, that doesn’t mean you have to decorate only in a traditional way. In fact, the only rule about Christmas tree decorating is that there are no rules: Except for having fun!

Think of your Christmas tree as your canvas, and you as the artist, ready to show your creative expression for all the world (or at the very least, your family, friends, and social media followers) to see. Holiday decorating is a way for you to express your personality, share your passions, and just have fun. So without further ado, it’s time to ring in some new Christmas tree decorating traditions. We guarantee these ideas will have you merrily rockin’ around the Christmas tree in no time. Afterward, check out these 50 DIY Christmas decorations anyone can make.

Christmas tree made from green glass beer, Getty Images

99 bottles of beer on the tree

The holidays are the perfect time for adults to get merry, which in turn begs the question: What to do with all those empty beer bottles? Rather than just throwing them into the recycling bin, use them to create a Christmas masterpiece. That’s right—we’re talking about a beer bottle tree. Plus, it will give you an excuse to drink a few extra. Not a big drinker? Check out these festive and delicious holiday mocktails that contain zero alcohol.

Star Trek christmas tree toppervia

All aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise

Turn your Elf on the Shelf into Mr. Spock this Christmas season by creating a decked-out Star Trek-inspired Christmas tree. And what better way to bring this creation down to earth than with a U.S.S. Enterprise musical tree topper like this one from Hallmark? Bonus points can be earned for collecting all of the character-inspired ornaments.

Christmas tree with googly eyesJuj Winn/Getty Images

Santa’s always watching!

We can’t confirm that Santa sees us all when we’re sleeping and knows when we’re awake…but this tree certainly does! Create a comedically creepy effect this holiday season by gluing googly eyes to your tree branches. While we’re on the topic of Santa, you won’t want to miss these 24 stories about meeting Santa that will fill you with Christmas spirit.

Christmas tree with rainbow lightsvia

Somewhere over the rainbow…

…a Christmas tree can be found! Bring some holiday cheer to your Christmas tree this year through color—we’re talking ROYGBIV. You can either buy a rainbow Christmas tree or spray paint your own for an extra colorful and fun holiday craft. If you think wacky Christmas tree decorating is funny, you’ll love these 31 funny Christmas jokes for the merriest holiday.

Harry Potter Christmas treevia HauckDesignCo/

You’re a (Christmas) wizard, Harry!

This tree is for all of you Hogwarts lovers out there—and we know there are quite a few. Ditch the classic star tree-topper and tinsel garland this year and instead replace them with the Harry Potter-inspired Sorting Hat and Marauder’s Map set. Now, if only there was a magic spell for an easy clean-up post decorating! All this decorating is bound to make you hungry, so take a look at these 59 vintage Christmas dishes worth trying today.

Christmas tree constructed from pile of booksGheatea Florin/EyeEm/Getty Images

Reading done right

Who says a Christmas tree has to be made out of….well…a Christmas tree? This wacky take on the tree tradition is a bookworm’s biggest dream. Stack up your favorite tomes and encircle them in string lights to create the perfect paperback evergreen. Just make sure you don’t use books that you may actually want to read between now and Christmas! We know all of you book lovers are dying to check out these pieces of Christmas trivia you probably didn’t know.

mini Candyland-inspired tree via 12LegsCuriosities/

Welcome to Candyland

Nothing reminds us of how sweet the holidays are more than candy. So why not incorporate some into your Christmas decorating this year? You can either purchase a mini Candyland-inspired tree or add candy to your larger spruce. Get ready for some trees that will look (and smell) as sweet as a gumdrop. And while we’re talking about candy—make sure you snatch up these Christmas candies that will only be available for a limited time.


Bows, bows, bows

Turn your Christmas tree into a life-size present this year by decorating the entire evergreen with bows for a super special, wrapped-up surprise. You can even buy a fake tree prelit and festooned with bows and faux poinsettias. Feel like going the more traditional route for your holiday decorations this year? Check out these 14 vintage Christmas decorations you can buy today.


God bless Christmas

Just because it’s Christmas and not the Fourth of July doesn’t mean you can’t show off your patriotic side. A white tree complete with red and blue ornaments is the perfect way to say “God bless America” while simultaneously saying “Ho, ho, ho!” Or you could buy an artificial tree in the colors of the flag, like this one from Home Depot. While most of us know of classic American Christmas traditions, it may be time to check out some Christmas traditions to steal from around the world.

Christmas tree constructed from wooden planksBrais Seara/Getty Images

Walkin’ in a wooden wonderland

Here’s another Christmas tree idea that ditches the classic blue spruce and opts instead for recycled planks of wood. Eco-friendly and holiday-ready? Sign us up! A true winter wonderland is only one of the 35 fun Christmas party themes you never thought of until now.

Eugenia Shulim/Getty Images

All that glitters isn’t always gold…

…but this tree certainly is. If you like to think of yourself as royalty, then this gilded Christmas tree decorating idea for you. With this tree, friends and family will think that you have the Midas touch.

Christmas tree decorated with bowsvia

Flora frenzy

Turn your Christmas tree into a botanical garden this year by inserting real or fake flowers into your tree’s branches. This sophisticated decorating take is unique and the perfect way to bring a hint of spring into winter. Now, check out why poinsettias are the official Christmas flower.


Light up the neighborhood

Skip the blue spruce all together this year and instead purchase one of these glowing Christmas trees that are sure to brighten up the entire block. The multi-colored LED bulbs, complete with a glowing star design at the top, are sure to make your Christmas tree one of the most unique of the season. And perhaps the best part of this tree? It’s perfect for both indoor and outdoor decoration. This tree brings a whole new meaning to Christmas lights. If you decide to opt for a more traditional blue spruce, find out the 12 secrets your Christmas tree wishes you knew.

Pink and white christmas, via LeeDisplaySeasonals/

Cupid came early

Is December 25 too early to celebrate Valentine’s day? Not in our book. One way to show some early Cupid-inspired cheer is by purchasing a festive pink and red tinsel tree to decorate this holiday season, like this one from Etsy. Add on some heart ornaments and St. Valentine will have made his way into December. By the way—this is why Christmas is celebrated on December 25.

WestEnd61/Getty Images

Up on the ladder-top

With the right amount of Christmas spirit, it’s easy to turn any old everyday household item into a Christmas tree. Just take a ladder, for example—string some lights across it, stick something star-shaped on top, and voila! A perfectly good, wacky Christmas tree alternative is born., via

An inflatable Christmas

While you may not describe a typical Christmas tree as “inflatable,” “fuzzy,” and “plush,” those adjectives are more than perfect if you want to take a stab at some wacky tree decorating. This airblown, 12.5-foot tree from The Home Depot is not only unique but also undeniably full of Christmas spirit. This wacky tree can be used both indoors and outdoors for double the decorating possibility. Even though Christmas (like everything else) will be different this year, here are 30 stores that will still be open on Christmas day.

Igor Bilic/Getty Images

Rock, paper, scissors

Nothing is more special than something handmade. So why not make your whole tree full of pieces crafted by hand? From origami to paper mache, transform your tree into a unique paper-covered masterpiece. Perhaps the best part of this tree design? Your furry friend can play in the branches as much as they want with no fear of ornament breakage, like this adorable white cat. And that’s truly a Christmas miracle.

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

Let it snow

Even if it’s not snowing where you live doesn’t mean that you can’t have a white Christmas. Use some cotton fluff to create a full-on snowstorm right on the branches of your Christmas tree. Bonus points if you get some arctic-related ornaments. And if the weather outside your window really is frightful, cozy up with these 15 festive Christmas cartoons.

Christmas tree decorated in layers of gold ornaments and beadsWith Love Of Photography/Getty Images

A star is born on Christmas day

Stars are no longer just for the top of the tree—instead, create an entire Christmas tree decorated with stars. They’re guaranteed to brighten your day (and possibly, your living room) and spread abundant amounts of Christmas cheer. Really want to brighten up your tree? Don’t miss this gorgeous Christmas tree that puts on a light show in your living room., Getty Images

It’s Christmas, Charlie Brown!

Looking for a tree that’s both unconventional and traditional at the same time? Look no further than a classic Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Bonus points will occur if you can get one singular ornament to dangle from one of the spindly branches. Speaking of a bit of tradition: These are 15 old-fashioned Christmas traditions to bring back.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Lucie Turkel
Lucie Turkel is a cultural journalist, researcher, and digital producer specializing in social justice, history, and lifestyle pieces. Her work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society's Key Reporter journal, the University of Connecticut Daily Campus, and UConn Communications.