Christmas Plant

The debate rages on over whether to get a live christmas tree or an artificial one.  From a minimalist perspective, an artificial tree is an unattractive option given the storage space needed to keep a tree you won’t use for 11 months a year.

What doesn’t surface often in debates are some very creative Christmas tree alternatives. Year-to-year, I don’t remember our individual Christmas trees at all.  They blur together into one big Christmas tree memory.  What I do remember is the year we decorated a broken chair and the years we had a Christmas Hibiscus, which fit perfectly into our tiny North Dakota apartment.

You don’t have to keep putting up a regular Christmas tree! Here are a few Christmas tree alternatives to make your holidays brighter and easier.

Christmas Tree Alternatives

  1. Living trees – Buy a smaller, potted Christmas tree and plant it in the spring.  You’ll be able to enjoy your Christmas tree year-round without any environmental guilt.Living Tree Home
  2. Rent a tree – If you live in California, you can rent a Christmas tree.  It comes in a pot, you return it after Christmas, and it keeps growing and is rented again next year.
  3. Decorate a houseplant – Many people have rather large houseplants already and they make great temporary Christmas trees!  For many years, we had a Christmas Hibiscus, which brought so much more (tropical) warmth into our lives than a traditional Christmas tree.
  4. Decorate the wall – You can create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind tree out of paper, lights, or even a chalkboard and chalk on your wall.  Excess storage space is minimal and everyone will appreciate your unique spin on the Christmas tree.

    Painted Tree

    Photo Credit:

  5. Decorate something else – This is where you can get really creative and have some fun doing it.  One year, our computer chair broke just before Christmas and, instead of hauling it off to the dump right away, we made it the centerpiece of our Christmas lives.  It even gave us more space for boxes because we could stack them on top of the tree!

    Chair Christmas Tree

    We clearly weren’t trying, but I laugh every time I think of this “tree”.

  6. Cut your own Christmas tree – Avoid the crowds at Home Depot and head out into nature with your family.  There are many places to cut your own, live Christmas tree in the DC area and all over the US.  Turn the experience into a memorable event complete with a stop for hot chocolate afterwards.
  7. Branch out – Select an interesting branch from your yard, pot it, and decorate it.  It may not bring the traditional Christmas tree green indoors, but it can be a lovely reminder of what makes winter beautiful.

    Branch Tree

    Photo Credit:

  8. Don’t worry about a tree at all – We do a lot of things because they are tradition.  Traditions can make things special, familiar and give you something to look forward to, but when a tradition starts to become stressful, it loses its fun.  If shopping for, untangling lights, feeding, and disposing of a Christmas tree no longer inspires the Christmas spirit, stop doing it, and use the time to start a new tradition.