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Alternative Christmas trees for the creative crafter

Updated August 10, 2017

With Christmas approaching, it's time to start thinking about getting the tree set up. A natural conifer or a synthetic tree are the traditional solutions. With a little creativity, however, you can set up a crafty tree that will give your home a unique and distinctive appearance this Christmas. Check out these great alternative Christmas tree ideas!

Cardboard stand-up tree

A simple alternative to natural or synthetic trees, cardboard trees are both creative and eco-friendly. Take two large sheets of recycled cardboard and cut them into tree shapes, then slot them together at right angles. Consider adding extra layers for improved stiffness. Decorate with paint, markers or whatever you fancy.

Wall decal tree

If you have a small space to work with and don't want the bulk of an actual tree, a wall decal can be a great replacement. You can either buy commercial wall decals and apply them to any smooth surface or use a blank decal to create your own.

Wall decoration tree

The thing that everyone loves about a Christmas tree is the lights and decorations. Why not eliminate the middleman and simply display ornaments? Arrange hooks and shelves in a tree outline on a wall and hang them with baubles, lights and other decorations.

Mirror tree

Creating the illusion of the depth is one way to give your tree a big impact in a small space. Put a full-length mirror against one wall or corner of your room and pile green-wrapped presents (or empty parcels) in front of it to create a sloping half-tree shape. Decorate with lights and baubles.

Ladder tree

A simple stepladder gives a rough but festive touch to a room when decorated as a Christmas tree. Dress up an old ladder with lights, tinsel and decorations. You can even hang lights and baubles inside the ladder and store presents on its steps.

Chalkboard tree

A chalkboard tree is a great way to share your Christmas celebration with guests. Paint one wall with blackboard paint, then decorate it with a chalk tree design. Add lights and decorations in coloured chalk. Keep chalk nearby and invite your Christmas guests to add to your tree.

Clothes hanger tree

A quick way to add a little Christmas colour to a room is with a clothes hanger tree. Simply hang one clothes hanger from a hook, then a hanger from each end of it, proceeding downward in a tree shape. Decorate the hangers with lights, baubles and tinsel to create a bright tree that lights up a room without taking up space.

Coil rope frame tree

This minimalist tree consists of just a simple metal stand, such as a microphone stand, surrounded by a winding coil of rope lights -- or two coiling in opposite directions for maximum brightness. This method provides a sparkling Christmas decoration that takes up almost no space when collapsed.

Book lover's tree

You'll need a lot of books for this project, but if you're a literary household it can be an imposing piece of holiday decoration. Use as many green-bound books as you can, starting in a wide circle and piling up to create a tree form. Insert the occasional red or gold book to help add a little variety.

Halloween tree

If you like a spookier look to your home, why not carry on the Halloween horror into the Christmas season? Halloween decorations can be had for pennies in the week after Halloween, and a black tree hung with grinning pumpkins will make your holiday decorations stand out.

Single-branch tree

Perfect for people who want to save space but still have elegant holiday decorations, a single-branch tree is as simple as it is practical. Choose a long branch to stand in a tall vase and hang it with a few carefully-selected ornaments. Be sure that your vase is sufficiently weighted to counterbalance a long branch.

Post it tree

Perfect for the office or at home. Leave short little notes and wishes for the Christmas holidays and your dreams for the New Year.

Envelope tree

An envelope tree is a great way to make Christmas decorations interactive. Mount card envelopes on your wall, one for each day until Christmas, in the shape of a tree. Dot red envelopes in among the green to vary the look, or decorate them with glitter. Include a small gift or treat in each envelope and have your family open one each day.

Beaded tree

Easy to display in tight spaces and to remove when not in use, a beaded tree is the perfect decoration for the space-starved. Sketch a tree design on the wall and then trace the beads. You can now bring it out when it's needed and quickly take it down again if need be.

Good enough to eat

What's your favourite thing about Christmas? Well, if you're anything like us the answer has to be the food.

Related: For more inspiring Christmas ideas click here!

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About the Author

Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.