Christmas tree alternatives?
December 5, 2005 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Creative alternatives to a Christmas tree?

What's something Christmas-y that will make visitors to my pad say, "Ooh, what a nice idea!" and yet isn't a Christmas tree? (I'll give all the due credit to this thread, natch.)
posted by grrarrgh00 to Home & Garden (33 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
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posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 1:30 PM on December 5, 2005

A local flower shop (next to Gutar Center on Westheimer in Houston) has taken normal trees, and either covered them in colored flocking, or spraypainted white flocking. As a result, they've got a row of Easter-color-ish trees (pink, yellow, purple, blue) lining the road.
posted by mrbill at 1:35 PM on December 5, 2005

There's always the Festivus Pole.
posted by deadfather at 1:38 PM on December 5, 2005

I found a small christmas tree made out of wire - no needles or anything - at a yard sale. I used small brass clips to attach all my christmas cards to the tree, and set it up on a table.

I have also covered said tree with ornaments and lights. It actually looked pretty cool.
posted by shifafa at 1:42 PM on December 5, 2005

The lobby of my office has a series of pointsettias arranged in a tree-like structure. The occasional white one amongst the red gives it a sense of being decorated. I'm not sure it would scale down to apartment size, but it might if you could find a suitable way to arrange the layers.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:44 PM on December 5, 2005

My grandparents used to collect a tumbleweed and hang mini ornaments on it. I remember it being about the size of a basketball or a bit larger.
posted by onhazier at 1:48 PM on December 5, 2005

Largish, dead branch of a deciduous tree, decorated with lights and bird ornaments. seen this done well and it was v. nice
posted by edgeways at 1:53 PM on December 5, 2005

A wreath.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:54 PM on December 5, 2005

Dang, deadfather. Beat me to it :) Oh well, there's always a Festivus for the rest of us.
posted by tayknight at 1:59 PM on December 5, 2005

A Dalek.

"You Will Celebrate!"
posted by Crosius at 2:07 PM on December 5, 2005

My neighbor when I lived in San Francisco had a hanukkah cactus.
posted by matildaben at 3:09 PM on December 5, 2005

Technically a Christmas tree, but a little different then most.
posted by hootch at 3:10 PM on December 5, 2005

I like mrbill's answer, but instead use florescent paint and hang a black light nearby! With all the Christmas decorations on houses around this time of year, I always think of the days between Black Friday and Christmas Eve as a very psychedelic time of year.
posted by sublivious at 3:23 PM on December 5, 2005

Check out the latest issue of ReadyMade magazine. They have a great lighted thread tree that looks pretty cool.
(I'm new and searched, what tags do you use to add a link? Thanks!)
posted by Jomoma at 3:23 PM on December 5, 2005

Hi Jomoma, I made your link into a hyperlink, you can type in angle brackets like this to make your own hyperlink like it shows below. If you have IE or Firefox there are buttons next to the input box that will make links for you.

<a href="">text you want to link</a>

gives you this: text you want to link

posted by jessamyn at 3:44 PM on December 5, 2005

I have a small bonsai, on which I hang a some small ornaments :)
posted by starscream at 3:47 PM on December 5, 2005

I've always been a big fan of surplus cardboard for the holidays.

Why not a stack of small, assorted boxes, painted/wrapped the appropriate green, and stacked/secured in a christmas-tree shape, with lights and a big cardboard star on top?

This would work well with the blacklight idea above, as well...
posted by Orb2069 at 3:51 PM on December 5, 2005

Largish, dead branch of a deciduous tree, decorated with lights and bird ornaments. seen this done well and it was v. nice

It's pretty funny even if it's not well done. My default Christmas tree for the past...uh...bunch of years has been a four-foot, spray-painted silver tree branch stuck into one of those tall orange traffic pylons. It's breathtakingly ugly and is not at all configured well for ornaments, lights, or standing upright for more than a few minutes at a time. I love it. This year I'm supplementing it with my potted dwarf lemon tree. Unfortunately it dropped all of its leaves when I brought it inside, which means I am obligated to decorate it with a single red ball ornament, a la Charlie Brown.

On the other hand, I once had some step-grandparents that had just...given up. When they talked about "putting up the tree", they meant a poster-sized felt wall hanging of a Christmas tree. (And no, there were no extenuating circumstances; they were just cheap and/or petty bastards.) Don't do that.

On the OTHER other hand, one of the neatest improvised trees I've seen was a cone of chicken wire supported by a mike stand. It's a fine line to walk.
posted by Vervain at 4:36 PM on December 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

Are you Christian? If not, you could make this year a menorah year.
posted by mendel at 4:47 PM on December 5, 2005

One of my friends likes to peel oranges all in one go so you get an orange peel spiral, and then hang them from things. They dry and look cool/vaguely christmassy.
posted by Lotto at 5:21 PM on December 5, 2005

Hang some wire high in a zigzag across your best room, then string lights, attach holiday cards, postcards, items from nature, dried herbs and all manner of lightweight pretty stuff (even ornaments) to the wire.
posted by cior at 5:30 PM on December 5, 2005

i know people who do it with lights fanning out from a nail high up on the wall, and held out/down with tape on the floor (hopefully covered up by presents)
posted by amberglow at 6:32 PM on December 5, 2005

Pretty darn cool. via MeCha
posted by theora55 at 6:45 PM on December 5, 2005

Due to cats/living in an RV I've had to be creative. I use a few of those fake pine bough-thingies. I swag them across the slide-out and decorate with lights and little ornaments. The cats still manage to snag an ornament or twelve, but at least they can't pull down the whole thing.
posted by deborah at 7:01 PM on December 5, 2005

We have a 6' cactus that we often decorate for the holiday season. Lights, ornaments, the lot.

For the festive pine smell, we'll often get a wreath of pine boughs. Often you can find very creative versions of these.
posted by jimfl at 8:26 PM on December 5, 2005

I once strung lights around the edge of my ceiling (where the wall meets it), and then hung ornaments from the string of lights (cats = no tree). You could do the same, and perhaps in a nicer way, by stringing either fake or real pine garland around in any way you like and hanging ornaments from that.
posted by bibbit at 9:04 PM on December 5, 2005

In my family, we still do trees (although allergies are forcing us to an artificial one this year), but for a long time we've had the cutest table decorations. I can only describe it as a quilted Christmas tree. Not a wall hanging, but a three-dimensional tree made of little quilted pillows the size of a child's fist, around a cloth cone pillow. Ours came from a Swedish crafts shop.

When I was living alone in Evanston, this was the only tree I needed.
posted by dhartung at 11:04 PM on December 5, 2005

How about a 7-foot upside-down Christmas tree? More room for presents, eh.
posted by KathyK at 6:12 AM on December 6, 2005

I can't have a tree because the cats would trash it. I do have a large windowseat, so I put up greenery all along the top edge of the windowseat, and a little way down the sides, and then string lights and hang ornaments on that. It looks great and is out of cat reach.
posted by JanetLand at 6:26 AM on December 6, 2005

How about this? (Mouse over it for the effect) You could decorate the wall it shines on if it's too plain.
posted by hindmost at 8:54 AM on December 6, 2005

You could add a Halloween wreath to whatever else you do.
posted by wzcx at 9:48 AM on December 6, 2005

This metal tree from Relish is pretty interesting and gives you space to hang a few ornaments.

Back in the late 90s the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago had a really cool Christmas tree mobile made from brushed aluminum rods, wire and paper (or paper-thin metal) ornaments. It was pretty big (I think around 7 feet tall) and absolutely gorgeous.

No amount of Googling can turn up an image of it. I remember the museum shop was selling the mobiles for a hundred or so dollars and I briefly considered trying to make one at home.
posted by Sully6 at 9:54 AM on December 6, 2005

I've never had a tree. My parents have used a phoney tree for many, many years -- I swore, once I moved out, that I'd only have a real tree. But like the Lorax, I'm a friend to the trees, so cutting one down merely for celebration has never seemed viable. Instead, I decorate with strings of lights like amberglow suggests. One of the best arrangements was my first -- I had strings of lights which all blinked at their own rates, which I stuffed down behind the living room's steam radiator. Groovy flashing light patterns!
posted by Rash at 9:59 AM on December 6, 2005

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