8 alternative Christmas trees green up your holiday!

Alternative Christmas Tree

Celebrate Christmas without a tree?  Absolutely! Skip the chopped-down conifer, pass on the plastic fakes, and leave the live sapling planted out in the wild. Start a new tradition. You’ll save a tree, save the planet, and save money too.

I’m in the middle of another international move, marking the eighth Christmas that my daughter has experienced in a most atypical way. Families everywhere base travel on school holidays, and for us that usually meant trips happened in late December. No need to “tree up” since we weren’t staying home, which meant the run-up to the day was fairly Scrooge-like in terms of decor. Amanda took it on herself to make tabletop trees out of painted cardboard, like those I crafted from old magazines in a 1970s Girl Scout troop (lead image), or the one shown below made from corrugated cardboard.

Alternative Christmas Tree

Another year, she taped ornaments in a tree-shape on the inside face of our apartment entrance door, including some colorful fairy lights.  A version appears below. She topped hers with a cut-out of Justin Beiber’s face (“Hey, ma, every tree needs a ‘star’!”).

Alternative Christmas Tree

But no need to take a page from my kid’s book.  Tear a few from your own old magazines or phone directory, and repurpose some pages into a sculptural tree. Just be sure to send them to recycling when the holiday is over.

Alternative Christmas Tree

Can’t condone destroying old books?  Then temporarily enlist them as holiday decoration, as shown below in the color-coded virtual Christmas tree. If you lack sufficient tomes in tonal alignment, add some quick book covers using old newspaper or kraft wrap.

Alternative Christmas TreeHello book lovers!  Make some sense of those towers of hardcovers sprouting all over your digs, and stack them in a sort-of-tree-shape.Suggest you pass on the large tree light bulbs and go with low-voltage fairy lights instead.  Don’t want to spoil the holidays with an unintended book burning.

Alternative Christmas Tree

I especially like this next one – borrow a neighbor’s ladder if you must – and you can find many variations on the theme. Trick it up in oversized paper ornaments as shown here – or wind some cotton cord through the steps and hang traditional tress decorations along the threadlines.

Alternative Christmas TreeGlue shells (or buttons, or corks, or bottle caps) to a conical styrofoam base and create a forest of small trees that can be displayed year-round.

Alternative Christmas Tree

Or go fully eco-event-planner and paint empty egg cartons in a palette of greens, here trimmed with empty Keurig coffee cups. Be sure to use water-based or acrylic paints and non-toxic glues, so that the entire assemblage can be recycled when the party’s over.

Alternative Christmas Tree Drop the Ho Ho Ho, and instead chant Reduce Reuse Recycle. It’s what the Ghost of Christmas Future is all about.

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