Each year, more and more people are looking beyond the two most common Christmas tree choices—fresh or artificial—and finding creative alternatives. Individual reasons vary, but a few of the most common reasons people seek out a Christmas tree alternative include:
Environmentally-minded individuals may feel uncomfortable buying a fresh Christmas tree each year—although the trees are now grown specifically for the purpose and most cities have recycling programs for trees after the holidays. An artificial tree is another option, but after a few years they tend to get damaged and will end up in a landfill.
Prices vary for both fresh and artificial trees, with the average price falling between $20 and $40 or more. In today’s economy, $20 to $40 isn’t pocket change and some families may feel that money is better spent on gas to get to work, a utility bill, groceries or a Christmas gift for their child.
Small Children & Pets
Both real trees and plastic trees pose multiple hazards for pets and children. The pine needles of real trees are not only toxic to cats, but when eaten, can puncture internal organs. Tinsel and other decorations are choking hazards and can cause deadly stomach blockages if ingested by dogs, cats or children. Artificial trees themselves—and ornaments which have been passed down from generation to generation—quite often have traces of lead. Lights on the tree pose an electrocution risk if chewed on.
Read Related: Holiday Gift Guide for the Home
Believe it or not, both live and artificial trees inside the house can trigger some people’s allergies or asthma. Ragweed, grass and mold allergies can be a problem with live trees; dust and mold allergies can be an issue with artificial trees that have been in storage.
Lack of Space
Not only does one need sufficient floor space to display a tree, but in the case of an artificial tree, one needs a place to store it as well. For those who live in small homes or apartments, there just might not be enough room.
Here are some ideas and options if you need an alternative, or if you’re just feeling creative!
A Live Tree That You Don’t Chop Down
Option 1: Decorate a tree in your yard, or plant a tree to enjoy for decades to come. Remember to use materials that won’t harm curious wildlife. Or consider making one especially for birds by covering pine cones in peanut butter and bird seed and hanging them on the branches.
Option 2: Buy a small, potted ornamental tree or herb bush (such as rosemary) which can be kept inside the house. These can be decorated with tiny ornaments if you wish and then planted outside in the spring.
Option 1: Time to think outside the box (the cardboard box, that is!). If you’re the crafty type, you can build a Christmas tree from materials around the home. Cardboard boxes can be stacked in a pyramid from largest to smallest, or cut two large Christmas tree shapes out and fit them together in an X shape to create a 3D tree which can be painted or decorated.
Option 2: Your tree can be made from almost anything—you’re only limited by your imagination. Look for Do-It-Yourself tutorials online to make trees out of everything from plastic or glass bottles, aluminum cans, and old magazines to dry branches, books, newspapers, CDs and coat hangers.
Deck the Halls…Literally: This one is for the seriously floor space challenged. As seen on Apartment Therapy, random found objects can be put directly onto the wall in the shape of a tree for a whimsical, pretty look.
Whichever tree or tree alternative you choose, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!