5 Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree Alternatives - Modern Farmer

5 Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree Alternatives

Instead of taking a tree’s life, craft a fake one following these artsy suggestions.

Photography by Africa Studio on Shutterstock

Some folks use artificial Christmas trees because they can’t be bothered to deal with a live one each year. Others do it because they don’t like the idea of cutting down a tree only to throw it away a month later. Whatever your reasons, let’s admit it, artificial trees are…artificial—nothing warm or Christmas-y about them. This is why we’ve made this curated list of our favorite arts-and-crafts Christmas tree stand-ins.

Terra Cotta Pot Tree
Courtesy of thebestideasforkids.com, the idea here is to stack progressively smaller clay pots into a tree-like pyramid—then decorate as you wish. You can even paint the pots or draw on them with colored chalk.

Pinecone Tree
Gather some cones, grab a glue gun and get creative. The cones have a way of interlocking with one another that makes them easy to stack into a small tree (a little glue insures they hold together). Leave your creation all-natural or decorate with strands of popcorn and cranberries. Cottageatthecrossroads.com explains how to tinge the cones with white paint for a snowy effect.

Garden Tool Tree
From HGTV.com a unique rustic-chic idea. It’s not a free-standing tree but something you affix to the wall (no reason you can’t stack presents at the base anyways). The first step is to visit a flea market and collect some vintage gardening tools, including a long spade for the trunk and at least a dozen or so small hand tools. Then, drill a couple of in each handle and use these to nail the tools to the wall in a tree shape.

Pallet Wood Tree
This approach requires basic carpentry skills. The idea is to upcycle a wooden pallet—you can often grab one for free at a construction site or behind a shopping center (ask first!)—into a wooden tree. There is  an infinite number of ways to rearrange the wooden pieces of a standard pallet into a treelike shape: countryliving.com has 20 different examples to consider.

Tomato Cage Tree
In this example, a wire tomato cage, turned upside down, serves as a scaffolding for virtually any type of decoration. You can hang ornaments directly from the rings, or use twine or wire to affix things such as pinecones and spruce boughs. Birdsandblooms.com has a nifty idea for using a tomato cage as an outdoor Christmas tree that is both decorative and a source of food for overwintering birds.


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2 years ago

I really don’t thank that a farming mag should be promoting an alternative to a real tree. Instead you should write about the wonderful, early successional habitat that Christmas tree farms provide for all kinds of migrating song birds, etc. and that how they help keep land in families across generations. Trees – like other crops – are just that – crops. Only their harvest / growth cycles are longer.

Ban Dinh
2 years ago

You would think that there might be at least one photo of each of the 5 ways. But there is not.

2 years ago

Christmas is next week. I’m sure most people who are putting up a tree this year have already done so.