A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

18 Cool Traditional Christmas Tree Alternatives

There are plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays without the sap, falling needles, and all that mess.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

1 / 19
Homemade christmas tree
coscaron/Getty Images

Out-of-the-box Christmas tree alternatives

There’s something special about decorating a Christmas tree, but it doesn’t need to look the same every year. In fact, there are plenty of creative and fun options instead of real or plastic green trees. Click on for some inspiring alternatives to your average green Christmas tree.

2 / 19
Creative Christmas tree in living room interior
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Rustic wood tree

This rustic tree is made from reclaimed wood for a one-of-a-kind design that can be used in the corner of the living room or on a tabletop, depending on how big you make it. And find some wood and grab a saw, hammer, and nails to create these primitive Christmas tree alternatives.

3 / 19
symbol Christmas tree from a colorful books on grey background. Empty copy space for your greetings

Book trees

Is there a book lover in your home? This book tree works well in a small space decorated with a strand of mini Christmas lights.

4 / 19
Holiday Decorated Succulent
Adrienne Bresnahan/Getty Images

Succulent tree

Give your succulents some holiday cheer this year. Hang light-weight ornaments on the leaves and bunch up some lights around the base of the plant to give it some shine.

5 / 19
DIY Christmas tree felt decoration

Craft project tree

Kids can help create alternative Christmas trees with simple craft supplies such as felt, ribbon, and glue. And when finished, hang some of your favorite little ornaments from the “branches.” No matter how you decorate your tree, this is what your Christmas tree wishes you knew.

6 / 19
Christmas tree made of wooden branches with copy space
Viktor Gladkov/Shutterstock

Reclaimed wood tree

Pinterest has lots of ideas for using reclaimed wood to build alternative Christmas trees. And once completed, add some paint or stain and wrap a strand of lights around the finished project.

7 / 19
Alternative handmade Christmas tree on a blue background
isabella antonelli/Getty Images

Deconstructed sign tree

If you have a bunch of old Christmas or holiday signs laying around clean them up and create a fun alternative Christmas tree. Cut off the rope or hooks on the back and arrange them from longest to shortest with a star on top. It’s a new way to display all of your signs. Here are some fun DIY Christmas decorations that anyone can make.

8 / 19
Decorated branch tree
Nazarii Kharko/Shutterstock

Decorated branch tree

Christmas decorating doesn’t get much easier than this. Go outside and find a branch (or you could purchase a plastic one from a craft store), place it in a vase or pot, or hang it from the ceiling or a chandelier and decorate it with your favorite ornaments. This would work great as a centerpiece or atop a living room table. Your holiday decor doesn’t have to be expensive.

9 / 19
Alternative wooden christmas tree. A handmade Christmas tree and red christmas balls.
Malkovstock/Getty Images

Ornament pattern tree

Have some fun with mini ornament bulbs by hot-gluing them together in a unique pattern. Display them inside a wooden tree to get the full tree look. If you want to be a little more creative, you can skip the wooden frame and create a unique tree shape using just ornaments of different colors and sizes.

10 / 19
washi tape alternative christmas tree

Christmas tree art

If you have a fireplace and no room for a traditional tree, try decorating the mantel with some DIY tree art. Use Washi tape to form a simple zigzag and decorate with ribbon or strips of fabric taped to the wall. This type of tree could even go above your mantel.

11 / 19
A photo of a handmade Christmas tree made up of painted wine corks. Winemaker's Christmas concept. On a dark background with holly branches and a place for text

Wine cork tree

For the wine drinker, try using all those corks to create DIY alternative Christmas trees. And there are several ideas on Pinterest to provide inspiration. This is the history of your favorite Christmas traditions.

12 / 19
Ladder Tree

Ladder tree

An eye-catching ladder tree spotted on Pinterest may not save any space, but it is certainly a new take on a traditional Christmas tree. Try decorating with sparkly ornaments, some strands of lights, and a star or angel on top.

13 / 19
Adhesive Notes In Christmas Tree Shape On Glass Window
Francia Ravololomihanta/EyeEm/Getty Images

Sticky note tree

This alternative Christmas tree is perfect for little kids. Finally, they’ll have the opportunity to use as many sticky notes as they want. Buy a few different colors and create the outline of a tree. Then, have the little ones help to add the presents and fill in the tree. Build it on the fridge, wall, or kitchen cabinets. Check out these vintage Christmas decorations.

14 / 19
Ply Wood Tree
Alex Sipetyy/Shutterstock

Plywood tree

This tree is made from sheets of birch plywood with stars cut out for modern Christmas tree alternatives. Search for “plywood Christmas tree patterns” online for dozens of additional options—even ones celebrating the New Year, too. And a scroll saw works best for cutting the large pieces of plywood for a tree this size.

15 / 19
Felt Christmas Tree

Felt tree

This felt tree is a great project to get kids started in DIY. And not only do these types of Christmas tree alternatives work great in small spaces, but they also work in a child’s bedroom. Making your own tree is one of the holiday traditions that everyone should start.

16 / 19
Chalkboard Tree

Chalkboard tree

If you have a chalkboard painted wall, why not draw a tree on it during the holiday season? You can also use a small chalkboard to draw a Christmas tree and hang it in the living room. This is a modern take on a Christmas tree. It’s a stark difference from what Christmas used to look like 100 years ago.

17 / 19
Christmas tree shaped of mossy branches and Christmas decoration
Westend61/Getty Images

Nature tree

The next time you go for a walk in the woods, pick up a few sticks of varying sizes. Once you’ve collected enough and cleaned them up arrange them in the shape of a tree on a cloth or poster board so you can easily hang the tree up on the wall. Add in ornaments or string lights and a star on top.

18 / 19
Unusual Christmas tree
Lineas 1703/Getty Images

Mobile tree

This alternative Christmas tree might require some power tools, but the end result will be something to display around the holidays for years to come. Pick up varying sizes of circle-shaped wood from your local hardware store. Then, drill holes around the wood to put the string through to hold the tree together. Attach ornaments, trinkets, and lights, and then hang it from the ceiling for a beautiful floating tree.

19 / 19
Pebble Tree
Luke SW/Shutterstock

Pebble tree

This tree uses items found at the beach for a unique take on Christmas tree alternatives. So get your hot glue gun out and try using pebbles, starfish, driftwood, pine cones, and other beach finds to recreate this look. Next, check out the best Christmas town in every state.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham is a writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.