15 Unconventional & DIY Tree Toppers In Lieu of the Usual Star

Traditional is fun, but these are more fun.

November  5, 2021
Photo by MJ Kroeger

I grew up in a home of very non-traditional Christmas decorations. My mother has always been one to shirk the classic red and green in favor of neon pink and blue, adorning things with pom poms long before they were en vogue, and she was even ahead of the Scandinavian gnome trend. Some decorations of note that come out after Thanksgiving include: creepy smiling snowmen that light up, bizarre ornaments, and even a wreath made of moss (she's very crafty).

So, after growing up with this sort of decor, I'm pretty averse to anything too classically Christmas, and instead I like to get a little weird with my tree (are you proud, mom?). Along with strange ornaments and unexpected colors also comes unconventional tree toppers, because why settle for a generic star? Below, find some of my favorite ideas for a fun twist on the traditional tree topper.

1. Simple Wire Star

Yes, you could purchase this simple wire topper on Etsy, but I bet you can just as easily DIY it with some thick gauge wire, a pair of pliers, and some patience.

2. Pom Pom Ball

If you have a bit of patience and a bunch of yarn, you can make this!

3. Foraged Twig Star

Even the least DIY-inclined among us can definitely pull this one off. Some sticks, twine, and an afternoon yield a very rustic (and very adorable) tree topper.

4. Decorative Mirror Topper

Got a small decorative mirror floating around? Fasten it to the top of the tree with some strong floral wire and call it a day, no need to dig through the holiday boxes for the tree topper you’re looking for.

5. A Knitted Santa Hat

If you happen to have some skill with a set of knitting needles, this one’s for you. And luckily, it’s also a quick one with chunky yarn to make a tiny hat.

6. Balancing Ballerina

A plush toy or stuffed animal with long legs is the perfect thing to wrap around the top of the tree with a wee bit of wire to secure it. Whether it’s a prized family favorite or a forgotten cast-off, either way, it’s getting its time to shine.

7. The Child

Fans of Star Wars and The Mandalorian will love this so much it’s going to be difficult to go back to the regular ol’ star topper afterwards.

8. Perched Flamingo

I don’t know about you, but I personally think pink lawn flamingos have flown past the tacky phase and into the adorable kitschy era of their lives. Maybe that’s also because my mother has an affinity for them, but either way, they’d make a hilarious tree topper in a coastal-inspired home.

9. Monogram Balloon

What’s inexpensive, easy to assemble, and only lasts a season in case you hate it? A monogram balloon tree topper, obviously.

10. Giant Ornament

Sometimes I wonder why we don’t just continue the ornaments all the way up the tree and make the topper match… and then I saw this photo. Genius! A big ol’ ornament at the top is a very easy way to make the entire tree look totally cohesive.

11. Peace on Earth

Lest we forget that peace is another motif of the season (you know, aside from joy, noel, etc.), a peace sign at the top of the tree is a lovely little reminder.

12. Jurassic Angel

How stinking cute is this T-Rex angel? You can easily DIY this by spray painting a dinosaur toy and adding some paper wings and a pipe cleaner halo.

13. Personalized Pennant Flag

A personalized pennant is not only a charming alternative to a traditional star or angel, but it’s also a keepsake that will be saved in the family for years to come.

14. A Sitting Gnome

Scandinavian-style gnomes have been all the Christmas rage for some years, and this guy is literally the cherry on top of the tree.

15. Forgo a Topper altogether

Who, in this modern age of Christmas, says you need to have a tree topper at all? This tree has two smaller stars on the topmost branch, which gives the tree a less formal and more whimsical look.

Would you try any of these this Christmas instead of a traditional topper?

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

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When I'm not writing & editing for Home52, I'm likely to be found DIY-ing a new piece of furniture (or restoring an old one), hanging things on the wall in my apartment, or watching hours of vintage RHONY.