Christmas Tree Alternatives So Good You Won't Miss the Real Thing

No need to lug a tree home when these ideas are just as festive.

November 22, 2021
Photo by Rocky Luten

Maybe you live in a small home. Maybe you’ve just moved and want to do a bit of decor without sourcing a big tree. Maybe you’re just tired of lugging the boxes out of the attic and want to do a pared-down version of Christmas this year. Maybe still you don’t celebrate Christmas, but want to pay homage to the season.

Whatever the case may be, cut yourself some slack! Christmas trees are lovely, but there are plenty of other ways to get in the holiday spirit without chopping down a Douglas fir and dragging it home. Below, find our 10 favorite Christmas tree alternatives, from hanging garlands to a photo collages.

1. Wall-Mounted Garland

Garland. Lights. Command Hooks. That’s all you need to create this low-profile “tree” on any available wall.

2. Wood Frame "tree"

If you can use a bread knife (I know you can), you can hand-saw these 1x2 pieces of lumber to create a simple wood frame for the minimal "tree" of your dreams. All that's left are a few screws to keep it together, and a string of lights to wrap around.

3. Copper Pipe Conifer

Tap the handyperson in your life to help you assemble a very affordable (and adorable) tree made from copper pipes. This one is perfect to still decorate with your ornaments, too.

4. Jugs of Branches

Your local Christmas tree seller (or even your backyard) likely has lots of cuttings to spare, which, when clustered together in a a couple large jugs, makes a stately centerpiece to hang ornaments from.

5. Dried Floral Bouquets

Totally unconventional, but totally beautiful. This tree-shaped collection of dried florals makes use of a material you might already have on hand for year-round decor, and won't clash with your existing style.

6. Photo Collage tree

This idea is particularly perfect if you have a collection of holiday cards from loved ones and past years from your own family. Simply stick them up on the wall in a tree arrangement with a few command strips or mounting putty, with string lights to pull it all together.

7. Plywood Pine

Two cut pieces of plywood take up much less room in storage than a full artificial tree, and this one blends much better with minimal decor.

8. The Giving Tree

Who says presents need to be under the tree when they can be the tree? Plus, this arrangement takes up half the space of a tree with presents.

9. A Bookworm's Tree

How cute is this tree made from stacks of books? If you're short on space but already have lots of books, this is the perfect "tree" for you. A festive bow or pine cone on top and some twinkling lights make it a stellar stand-in.

10. Driftwood Decor

For anyone who's lucky enough to have a beach house (or, just lucky enough to take a beach vacation), a few pieces of driftwood in differing sizes make a perfect tree shape when strung together with fishing line and decorated with ornaments.

Would you skip the traditional tree in favor of one of these ideas? Have an idea of your own?

Food52's Automagic Holiday Menu Maker
View Maker
Food52's Automagic Holiday Menu Maker

Choose your holiday adventure! Our Automagic Menu Maker is here to help.

View Maker

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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.