Themed Christmas trees: 3 ideas to spark your holiday creativity

evergreen branch

The problem with decorating Christmas trees is that it’s too much fun to only do once a season. The main tree tends to have a well-established theme, recreated every year. It’s an old friend, a welcome one, but still an old friend. Not much room for innovation. That’s where smaller themed Christmas trees hit the spot–a chance to flex your creativity in the holiday spirit.

The basic recipe starts with some sort of tree type object: real evergreens, faux evergreens, aluminum dazzlers, feather trees or unconventional materials like dowels, sticks, frames, stacks of books, carefully piled crates or boxes, cardboard tubes…anything that works within the laws of gravity and physics can be a  tree if you say it is.

Once you have your tree, unleash your imagination. To get those muscles warming up and flexing gently, here are some creative sparks to ponder…

The Kitchen Tree

kitchen christmas tree
From HGTV.com, a simple cutlery kitchen tree.

The kitchen is full of things that deserve a time to shine. HGTV featured this cutlery inspired tree on their blog; how many of us have bits and bobs of antique silver-plated flatware and odd serving utensils lurking in our drawers. To add to the fun, what about accenting it with strings of fresh cranberries

Scale matters: the larger the tree, the larger the items you can hang. Big tree–mashers and muffin tins. Small tree–molds and measuring spoons. And what does the tree stand in–a blue enamel roasting pan, an antique cookie tin or a copper bowl with a linen dish towel tree skirt?

GET THE LOOK

The Boudoir Tree

jewelry trees
Three ideas for trees in your on your dresser or vanity.

I saw my first jewelry tree in the 1980s. My vintage-loving friend David had collected sparkling rhinestone jewelry all year, both broken and complete. And the apartment-sized tree he decorated was fully covered with necklaces dripping like icicles and brooches glinting like exquisite baubles. 

Jewelry trees can express your inner magpie. If you have broken bits, you have the blissful liberation of  glue gunning without a shred of guilt like the photo above left from RetroRenovation. If you are using your own wearables, delicately dangle them from a feather tree, drape necklaces like garlands or dot a wreath with brooches. Tiny perfume bottles; yes please.  Need some whimsy in your life, release the curlers! Need a his and hers? Add bow ties. Add a pretty handkerchief, lace trimmed slip or doily as a tree skirt. Or better yet, nestle it in a vintage suitcase and surround it with your favorite pretties.

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The Ephemera Tree

ephemera trees
Two ways to share mementos and ephemera, a DIY frame tree from Organized Clutter or a lavishly decorated tree from Cincinnati’s  Taft Museum.

Whether you like your memories vintage or like them as fresh as last summer, an ephemera tree showcases photographs, small bits of memorabilia, greeting cards and more. What better way to display a decade’s worth of pictures with Santa? Or favorite fishing lures and photos from fishing trips to remember? Decorate a travel memories tree with a paper chain garland made from old maps. Postcards, mais oui! Buttons and badges and car keys and golf tees…anything that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside has a place on an ephemera tree.

GET THE LOOK

Make it yours

When it comes to theme trees, with enough pixie dust and some scrounging in drawers and boxes, the only limit is your own imagination. Look up your sleeve…what’s hiding there might surprise you and dazzle your holiday guests with your creative genius. 

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