Alternative Christmas Tree
What do you do if you want to be different and truly unique with your holiday decorations? What if the budget is tight this year and you can't afford a real, or artificial tree? Does your house not lend itself to a traditional tree or is it the first year the kids are away and you want a change?
Then be creative!
If you google images of alternative Christmas trees, a wealth of images appear of the truly unique ways that people have decorated their homes. From stacks of books and bottles in pyramids, to shelving with driftwood and cardboard, or simply lights on a wall in the traditional Christmas tree shape. There are many different ways to have a Christmas tree but without being traditional.
This year I went for the collection of sticks tree. I know, it sounds a bit rubbish, but with a little creativity and a tin of spray paint it is possible to make a delightful and different tree.
Firstly you need your raw materials, I went to our local park and picked up fallen twigs and branches from the trees, trying to imagine as I went along how I would put them together and discarding anything that I thought wouldn't work.
Do be careful when foraging, some national parks and authorities do not allow you to take anything away from the forest, and so do check with the parks website or local authority before you set out.
Don't worry about the colour of the twigs as that can be changed later, but do try not to pick up anything too wet or brittle as it will make a mess of your car and living room as well as be difficult to decorate as it may not take the weight of lights or some decorations.
Make a day of it, try and do it in the winter sun all wrapped up and cosy and on your return home celebrate a good days work with a mulled wine or hot spiced cider, after all the holiday season does begin when you put up your decorations.
You will need
- A collection of sticks and twigs
- A sturdy pot
- Sand or earth to steady the sticks in the pot
- Spray paint in a colour of your choice and a protective mask.
- Garden wire
- A pair of pliers
- Lights and decorations
Step by step in picturesClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Fill your chosen pot with sand, being sure to push it right down and compact it so that it provides the study base you need.
- Start with the sturdiest branch and make this the centre of your tree that you will wire all other branches too.
- Add the other branches, push more into the sand keeping in mind the space that you intend to have the tree in your home.
- Once all of the main branches are in place use garden wire to bind them together.
- Lightly spray the branches whist you are outside, making sure you wear a protective mask. I chose white and silver as my lights are white and I like silver birch and branches covered in a light snow fall. Keep in mind how you want your tree to look. I sprayed from above to create a snow fall effect. If you have decorations in bold colours then why not spray the beaches with reds, golds, greens or blues?
- My pot was old and tatty and a little too dark so I also treated that to a dusting of white and silver spray paint. I also painted some spare branches ready to add to the tree once it was in position.
- When the paint is dry, bring your tree indoors and place in its final position. Now you can trim to make it fit and add any extra pre painted braches to fit the space.
- Finally decorate. The great thing about this tree is that decorations can be sparse, in fact don't overload it as you will block the wonderful natural features of your twigs and branches. I went for a red and white theme using ornaments only made of tin or wood.
The total cost
This is a very economic way of decorating your home, if you already have the tools, lights and decorations that is. All told I spent around £10 on the spray paints and garden wire, the rest I already had at home. Usually we would spend £45 on a 5ft tree at Christmas, so this is a nice little saving at this time of year.
It does take up much less room than a traditional tree and is very pretty twinkling away in the corner. The red and white theme helps to make the tree feel very festive and I have been able to use many of my usual decorations. I do miss having a real tree, but I will do this again, maybe every other year. If you have a home where you have space to have two trees, say a large reception hall or dining room, then why not decorate that room with the alternative Christmas tree.
Whether you do this for fashion, economy or just because you fancy something different this year, you will be delighted with the result.
Merry Christmas and happy creating!