The 12 Trees of Christmas

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Crafty and alternative or an explosion of candy-cane kitsch? Ditch the artificial Christmas tree this year and try something different. Make sure your Christmas tree – whatever form it takes – is the perfect focal point for your home this festive season with our guide. 
Chalk up a cracking Christmas tree. Credit: Resurrection Fern blog
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Chalk up a cracking Christmas tree. Credit: Resurrection Fern blog

12. Chalk and trees

Whether there’s one in the kitchen for handy shopping reminders or in the living room to save your wallpaper from creative toddlers, a chalkboard is the perfect canvas for an artistic take on Christmas. Get everyone involved – and if you grow tired of it before the holidays are out, simply wipe the slate clean and start again.
 
Top tree tip: Save your creation from smudges by spraying fixative over it, so long as it’s easy to wash away afterwards. 
A minimalist look created from natural twigs or branches
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A minimalist look created from natural twigs or branches

11. Go naked

For a spot of the ethereal, look for a dried tree in your local garden centre or gather together some sturdy branches and stand them in a pot. Then drape some white fairy lights over them, and a handful of decorations for a sparse, Nordic-inspired look.
 
Top tree tip: Why not hang some decorations from your larger houseplants? 
Use wool to create your dream tree
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Use wool to create your dream tree

10. Yuletide yarn

Pick a wall and form a Christmas tree shape on it from a ball of wool. Make it as big as you like, pin the ends of each ‘branch’ and you’ve got built-in hangars for your decorations. Throw in a second and third ball of different coloured wool to make a vibrant mix.  
 
Top tree tip: Pick a corner and string your tree across the diagonal gap between two walls. It will stand out and feel a little more central to the room.
Paper trees have a vintage charm. Credit: stylemepretty.com
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Paper trees have a vintage charm. Credit: stylemepretty.com

9. Wintery backdrop

Grab a roll of parcel paper and sketch out the tree you always wanted. Use glitter pens for the outline, then decorate to your heart’s content. You can fill in the baubles yourself using cuts of patterned cloth. You could even add pine cones or sprigs of fir if you find yourself hankering after the real thing.

Top tree tip: Use vintage wrapping paper as the backdrop to complete the old-time Christmassy effect.
A real tree in another form!
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A real tree in another form!

8. Festive flotsam

Next time you take a walk along the beach, collect those peculiarly smooth branches and wooden bits and pieces you see dotted along the shoreline. By cutting them to various lengths and fixing to a convenient wall or large panel of wood, you could have a rugged Christmas tree that feels as though it was washed in from the ocean. 
 
Top tree tip: Add fragrant flourishes in the form of home-baked orange slices, cinnamon sticks and star-shaped biscuits. 
Book tree... simple and effective
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Book tree... simple and effective

7. Take a leaf out

Put those well-thumbed hardbacks lying on your coffee table to good use this Christmas by piling them up to make a tree. Bigger volumes on the bottom, smaller ones towards the top and plenty of shiny ribbon or fairy lights in-between. Just make sure everyone’s finished reading them first, otherwise you’ll have a Christmas-themed game of Jenga going on in the corner of your room! You could try the same thing with Christmas DVDs.
 
Top tree tip: Gather some Christmas literary classics for an especially suitable book-tree. Think along the lines of A Christmas Carol, The Greatest Gift (which inspired It’s a Wonderful Life) and The Snowman
Daringly different, a stepladder tree. Credit: nedesignbuild.com
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Daringly different, a stepladder tree. Credit: nedesignbuild.com

6. Santa’s stepladder

Invite that set of ladders propping up the shed in from the cold with this clever idea. Notice how they’re pointed, like a certain Christmassy centrepiece? They're just asking for an angel or a star to be placed on top! Yes, with twinkling Christmas lights and liberal lengths of tinsel, you could have a real talking point with a stepladder Christmas tree. There’d also be much more room for Father Christmas to offload his delivery too. 
 
Top tree tip: You could incorporate some presents into the tree by placing one on each step. Be careful with fragile gifts, though. 
A cut-out-and-keep tree. Credit: foreverlovecom.blogspot
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A cut-out-and-keep tree. Credit: foreverlovecom.blogspot

5. Flat-pack tree

So cheap and cheerful, you’ll wonder why you haven’t seen it on the high street. Order a sheet of the fibreboard and then simply cut out the shape of a fir tree, spray it in the colours of your choice and decorate. Finally, mount it on the wall for maximum visibility.

Top tree tip:  Slot two MDF trees together – so, when viewed from above, they form the shape of an X – and you’ll have a sturdy, designer DIY tree. 
The perfect temporary tree. Credit: decopeques.com
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The perfect temporary tree. Credit: decopeques.com

4. Get it taped

Not keen on painting a tree directly onto your wall and rubbish at DIY? Use Washi Tape instead. Make a simple triangle shape or use multi-coloured strips of the tape, to create a more complex tree, and then string ornaments across it. When the New Year arrives just peel it all off without leaving any marks.
 
Top tree tip: For something different, why not tape a tree shape to your ceiling? That way, your baubles and decorations will hang overhead. 
A pretty tree full of keepsakes. Credit: apartmenttherapy.com
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A pretty tree full of keepsakes. Credit: apartmenttherapy.com

3. Tree of memories

Build a Christmas tree out of personal mementos and favourite keepsakes with this mural idea. Choose a handful of focal points – a vintage angel for the treetop, some favourite Christmas photos, maybe a stocking – and then use smaller decorations to fill in the gaps.
 
Top tree tip: Mount your design onto a large board. You’ll save your wall and ensure your tree lives on and evolves over the years to incorporate new memories.
You can build anything out of LEGO. Credit: rail.co.uk
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You can build anything out of LEGO. Credit: rail.co.uk

2. LEGO of your imagination

One for the more ambitious tree designer, this LEGO Christmas tree was unveiled in 2011 at London’s St Pancras International railway station. Standing at over 12 metres tall it took two months to construct. If you’re thinking about something similar, you’d need about 600,000 LEGO bricks! Don't forget the Christmas tree lights.
 
Top tree tip: Feeling inspired? Why not create tree decorations from LEGO bricks instead?
Fifties space-age look: highly collectable
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Fifties space-age look: highly collectable

1. Full-blown vintage

Last, but definitely not least, how about something altogether more traditional? Look for vintage Christmas advertising, blown-glass baubles, teardrop Christmas lights and classic sweets such as chocolate coins and candy canes  to decorate a classic Norwegian Spruce or Fraser Fir tree.
 
Top tree tip: See if you can find an aluminium tree for that 1950s feel. Popular in pink, white and purple, they often came with an electric light colour wheel and are now highly collectable.
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