No room for a big, classic, traditional tree in your apartment or condo? Maybe you’ll be gone for Christmas but want something festive to look at before and after without all the fuss. Or perhaps you seek some exciting, innovative, alternative, and tidy holiday decorating ideas that trumpet comfort and joy without having to re-carpet or repaint the space on January 2nd!
For the Healey family of Pearland, Texas, crunchy stacks of brown pine needles and puddles of dark water had permanently christened their white rug, year after year, until mom Liz decided enough was enough.
“We love the holidays,” she said, “but our three kids were growing up and experimenting with fashion, make-up, redecorating their rooms, etc. So this year we summoned our ‘inner artists’ and asked, why not make a family activity out of redesigning Christmas?”
Instead of a cumbersome tree, the Healeys elected to try their hands at some serious wall art in the shape of a tree. Using a trendy giant Christmas tree wall decal they ordered online, the family dug out vintage winter vacation photos from when their kids were small, old and new Christmas cards, bulbs, ornaments, jewelry, velvet ribbon, dried flowers, pine cones, garland, tinsel, and strung popcorn to fill in the “branches” and add spirit and sparkle to the living room without risking another year of rug stains and discoloration.
“We first affixed a sheet–the same color as the wall–pulled tight and secured with removable adhesive putty,” Liz said. “Then we just let our Yuletide imaginations soar.”
A Board for All Seasons
A typical home bulletin board became a bright canvas for a manifestation of Pinterest-inspired holiday art ideas for the Stockton, California-based Baldwin family. Generally layered with Post-it note reminders about chores, lessons, appointments, and items for shopping lists, the Baldwins removed everything and painted a bright green Christmas tree onto the large cork board. They then used fresh Post-it notes in bright colors as ornaments, onto which family members wrote holiday wishes and expressed gratitude for the gift of one another, friends, and other blessings. Borders of colored glitter (adhered with a little glue) made the bulletin board tree sparkly and festive.
Baby Takes a Bough
In Burlington, Vermont, Tom and Mary Gray celebrated their first Christmas as new parents by suspending glittered branches from the ceiling of their baby’s room using a heavy string at each end. They proceeded to tack baby booties, mittens, and little red and green animals and birds from the hobby store onto each branch.
“We had all these beautiful holiday mobiles to entertain our baby,” Mary said. “And when family and friends saw them, they ended up lingering forever in her room!”
In the Grays’ living room, a “tree” made of layers of gloves and mittens, ice skates, scarves, hats, and other winter accoutrements, affixed to a large Styrofoam topiary form, made for a true Christmas conversation piece at their annual holiday party.
A “Tree” Grows in Florida
Recently downsizing from a 3,000 square foot family home to a smaller condominium, Florida retirees Ed and Carmen Schultz have always been avid amateur photographers. Having photographed every Christmas tree the family’d had from the year their first child was born (and from every angle), and all of the trees in their four adult children’s homes, the Schultz’s, now grandparents of five, created a massive collage of some 150 images on their sunroom wall–in the shape of a Christmas tree!
“We had everyone here for the holidays squeezed into every nook and cranny, on bedrolls and the like,” said Ed. “And while we had a small tree on a living room table, we spent most of our time enjoying the sunroom wall and memories of the trees of Christmas past.”
However you choose to express your holiday ideas, a treeless holiday can be just as much fun as traditional decorating and even bring out the ‘inner artist’ in everyone. Who knows–the results just might start a whole new tradition!