Ok, we’re mid way through October – hands up if you’ve started thinking about your Christmas decorations? Maybe not but the festive period is fast approaching and it’s best to get organised now before you end up stuck with the same old sad looking plastic tree, or a real fir tree that smells gorgeous but drops most of its needles before the big day.
Most of my friends wait until the 1st of December to start decorating but I’ve certainly seen the odd Christmas tree or two around in November and maybe even as early as October. If you’re visiting from the other side of the pond, I’ve heard that it’s traditional to put the tree up after Thanksgiving at the end of November, when everyone will already be in the holiday mood.
Obviously there’s no hard and fast rule – living in a country which pays very little attention to the festive season, as I do now, it’s rare that I have a Xmas tree on display more than a week before the big day – Christmas Eve is more usual. And of course if you have dogs or toddlers, this might be another reason to delay putting your tree up.
Anyway I’m kind of getting off topic here because the whole point of this post is to introduce some alternatives to traditional trees for those who want a modern look, like to be a bit different, who have a home that too small for a full-size tree, or just don’t like the idea of murdering a living tree so it can sit in your front room. There are plenty of unique Christmas trees for sale online or you can get crafty and do a bit of DIY to make your own.
I’ve scouted around the web and found a huge selection of unique Christmas tree ideas so you can get inspired. Ok, lets get started!
1. Reclaimed Wood Christmas Tree
Here in Bali, there are lots of furniture shops selling very cool looking tables, chairs and storage units made from reclaimed boat timber. So of course I love this modern alternative Christmas tree made of planks of wood, that I found on Apartment Therapy. This tree manages to be rustic and minimalist at the same time and I think it’s quite a stroke of genius!
You can actually buy a miniature version of this to hang on the wall here, but I think it would be really easy to make one of these unique Christmas tree designs on your own. If you’ve got any old bits of wood lying around in your garage or garden shed, this would be a super easy and quick DIY Christmas tree and you can either leave it plain or decorate it how you choose. I think this would also make a great way to display Christmas cards – just use a drawing pin to pin them to the wood in an even pattern.
2. Chalkboard Christmas Tree
If you’ve got one of those trendy chalkboard walls in your house, you have to do something like this (found here)- so easy and if you’ve got kids they’ll love to help out. If you haven’t got a chalkboard wall, then you need to make one! They’re not only great for kids but can make a great design accent in your room at any time of year. This is probably the easiest DIY you’ll ever do – just paint a wall or section of a wall with blackboard paint (you can buy blackboard paint here). If you’re not particularly artistic, don’t worry – there are loads of chalkboard wall ideas on Pinterest to copy.
3. Inflatable Christmas Tree
Another great one for the kids! Or the office Christmas party or anywhere where you just want to have a laugh and want a fun and cheap Christmas decorationThis inflatable Christmas tree is 120cm tall and is self-inflating and lights up via an internal LED light. This would make a really fun Christmas treef or kids and you can use it to decorate their rooms without any worries about it getting broken or injuring them.
4. Christmas Lights Tree
If you’re short on floor space, a flat Christmas tree that can be displayed on a wall is a great solution. If you’re looking for an alternative to a traditional Christmas tree that is still festive, look no further than your box of christmas tree lights. Making a tree shape out of an ordinary string of lights like this one from Domino magazine is pretty straightforward, but if you don’t want the hassle of tacking them all in place, you can buy a wire tree with lights already in the perfect position. This is also a bit easier to display in your window as obviously you can’t hammer in nails to position the lights round in a pane of glass.
5. Cardboard Christmas Tree
You can buy cardboard furniture, so why not a Christmas tree? This corrugated cardboard tree from Kid-Eco is made from 80% recycled materials and makes a great craft project for the kids. Or if you want to get arty yourself, this would be a really cheap way of expressing your artistic tendencies – cover it in enough tinsel and nobody will even know it’s cardboard.
6. Comic Christmas Tree
If you’re looking for something that will be a real talking point and raise a few eyebrows, this unusual Christmas tree could be just the thing. Made from sustainably sourced plywood with decoupaged vintage comics, it’s available as either a tabletop or 4ft tall version. Available from Not On The Highstreet, along with several other unique artificial Christmas trees.
7. Christmas Card Tree
You can’t get much simpler than this when it comes to unusual Christmas tree ideas and it’s also a beautiful way to display your most attractive Christmas cards – simply stick them to the wall in the shape of a Christmas tree.
8. Wall Decal Christmas Tree
Another great space saving idea that manages to look incredibly stylish for those who hate tacky Christmas decor. A Wall decal is the ideal way to inject a bit of Christmas spirit into a modern or minimalist room design or just to add the backdrop to the rest of your Christmas decorations. They come in all different designs and colours and are easily removable without damaging your wall surface when you want to take them down. I think his one manages to get the right balance between being festive and minimalist.
9. Driftwood Christmas Tree
There’s just something about these unusual Christmas trees made from reclaimed wood. This driftwood tree has a beautiful organic shape that would fit right into a traditional home as well as it would one with more contemporary style. If you live near a beach and can collect driftwood easily, this sort of tree would be pretty easy to make. Otherwise you can pick up a ready made one here.
10. Twig Christmas Tree
The humble twig is probably what springs to most peoples’ mind when they start thinking of alternative Christmas tree ideas. It’s also probably the simplest DIY option – simply grab a bit of dead branch while you’re out walking the dog, spray paint it silver, stick it in a pot, add some baubles and voila! Your very own alternative Christmas tree. If you can’t be bothered, there are lots of twig Christmas trees available to buy. I like this one because it has built in lights and doesn’t look too Christmassy (it’s actually modelled on a cherry tree) so you can use it all year round.
11. Fabric Christmas Tree
There are plenty of Christmas trees posters around but I think they all look a bit tacky. This fabric version from Ikea actually manages to look quite beautiful and would fit well into any home. They don’t seem to be stocking it this year and I haven’t found a similar alternative (let me know if you see one!) but you could make your own at Spoonflower.
12. Crate Christmas Tree
How’s this for a novel way of displaying Christmas presents? These storage crates can be stacked in the shape of a tree, used to display Christmas ornaments and presents, decorated with lights and then used for normal storage around the house once Christmas is over. If the price tag on this one is a little outside your budget, it would be easy to replicate and this would probably be one of the easiest unusual Christmas trees to make.
13. Washi Tape Christmas Tree
Having two young kids, I’m always on the lookout for easy craft ideas and I loved this as soon as I saw it here. You could either do this large scale on the wall or create smaller versions with your kids as extra decorations or to send out as Christmas cards.
15. Christmas Bauble Tree
Another beautiful but simple option for creating your own DIY alternative Christmas tree – instructions here. You could easily use more baubles to make this into a life-size tree.
16. Sticker Christmas Tree
A simple and fun option for kids rooms. This would be easy enough to create on your own, but you can buy the set here.
17. Ladder Christmas Tree
Just moved and don’t have time to decorate? No worries! Throw some lights and tinsel on your step ladder and you’ve got an instant and unique Christmas tree. Lots of examples floating around the web for this – I like the addition of the branches in the one above – sorry couldn’t find original source!
18. Felt Christmas Tree
Ok so there are lots of kid-friendly Christmas trees on this list but I make no apologies for that! This felt tree is easy to make and fun to play with for even small toddler. See instructions here. You could also make a 3d version of this by making a cone out of stiff cardboard and wrapping felt around it.
19. Rope Light Christmas Tree
20. Christmas Trinkets Tree
Finishing off with one of my favourites, this DIY Christmas tree can be themed to suit your own personality and style. Just attach christmas decorations, ornaments, packaging and anything else you can think of in a tree shape to your wall. This would actually make a fantastic and unusual design focal point at any time of the year.
If you’ve come up with any other ideas for unique Christmas trees or you’ve seen some others elsewhere online, please drop them in the comments!