Before getting the traditional plastic Christmas tree from the attic or hauling a living fir in your living room this year, stop for a minute and try to come up with a funkier, crunchier alternative. One that will make a statement and be more unique, entertaining and ecological, perhaps even easier to set up at the same time. Using books, photos, bottles or any objects you have in your closets can turn out to be a fun activity that gets the whole family excited and creative!
The traditional, no-brainer tree
One of the most traditional, no-brainer options to deck your house for Christmas is putting up a plastic tree that can be decorated well in advance of the crazy days starting December 24th. This tradition is used in the US and many Southern European countries, where the holiday decorations are pulled out of their boxes even a month before Christmas. The trees are usually decorated with bows, balls, stars and ribbons, but this year, you could get creative and make your own decorations using recycled materials, for example. Or instead of the usual glittery objects, use something more original like colourful socks or family photos. Throw around some ideas at the dinner table and see what your kids can come up with!
Searching real, authentic Christmas spirit with a fir or a spruce
If you’ve decided to buy a real fir tree instead, be sure to make the right moves when bringing it in the house. Otherwise you might have a bare trunk and a pile of needles on your living room floor before the holidays have even begun.
- Remove the netting so that the branches are unfold and straighten and the tree can freely open up
- If the temperature outside has been very cold, place the Christmas tree in a storage room, garage or adjoining wall on the balcony for half a day before bringing it to room temperature. That way the temperature difference is not too drastic and the tree will not suffer and the needles will stay on.
- Cut a new surface on the trunk with an ax or a saw and place the tree in a bucket of water so it can get enough water
- After moving the tree indoors, place it on a sturdy fir tree leg and make sure the trunk is covered with water up to at least 5 centimeters of height. In addition, you can water the tree with a spray bottle.
- Next, you can take out the decorations and start adorn your tree.
- During the holidays, remember to water the tree every day, even a few times per day. If it doesn’t get enough water, the needles will start falling.
You can get creative and think of unusual ideas also with a real tree. In Scandinavia, some families use simple stars, angels and goats made of straw and red string, to symbolize the fact that Jesus was born in a manger and not covered in glitter and gold. Real candles were also used in the past to illuminate the tree and even though they might be a bit hazardous with children, they certainly deliver subtler and more authentic hues than electric lights.
Funky, alternative trees for your crunchy, playful Christmas
And what if you’d like to be even more extravagant and make a statement with a truly ecological tree this year? You can go off the beaten holiday path with a completely unique idea, using minimalist shapes and objects or recycling products you have around the house. You can build a Christmas tree with anything you are passionate about, whether it is books, wine bottles, photos or old carton boxes.
An easy option for book-lovers is to pile books of different sizes and colours on top of each other. Once your book-tree is tall enough, you can decorate the “tree” with lights, shiny balls or stars. Here you can find ideas on how to make your book tree special.
Creating a tree with wine bottles is certainly a step more challenging, but if the others can do it, why not you? If you have many bottles of the same height, you can form a circle of about 20 bottles as the base, place a round plastic or glass layer on top of them and continue building layers with fewer bottles and smaller tops until you reach the desired height. Otherwise, you can opt for laying, or rather fixing, layers of bottles horizontally on top of each other, forming a triangle shape – this video will give a you a clear idea. There are lots of other bottle-tree tips and best practises online.
Indeed, you can get really wild with your tree-ideas, as piling any green objects – or any other colour that matches your interior decoration – on top of each other in the cone shape results in a treeish effect. Even just setting a string of Christmas lights on a wall in a tree-like shape help uplift your holiday atmosphere. Here you can find funky tree ideas for all sorts of tastes and vibes. The important thing is, be playful and use your creativity!