According to HISTORY.com the history of the Christmas tree is a rather long one finding a root (see what I did there?) in numerous cultures over hundreds of years. In fact, “long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.” But it is Germany that is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition we now know. In the 16th century devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some were pyramids of wood while others were evergreens or even candles. (FUN FACT: Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens and to recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the parlor and wired its branches with lighted candles.)
Illustration: Trimming The Tree, Norman Rockwell – date unknown
Ask most any American and the answer you are likely to get regarding the perfect Christmas tree is a Fraser Fir or Douglas Fir standing just over 6′ tall and about 53″ wide. In later years perhaps the answer would change slightly to keep the size but switch out the real needles for PVC blend ones that stay green, well, forEVER! But with the growth of the tiny house movement and the backlash against the traditional, consumer-driven, Christmas holiday alternative trees have become more and more popular. Ranging from the “simply shrunken” tabletop firs to the garish revolving, pink shimmer trees, the choices are numerous and each one is a space-saving solution for the tiny house set that allows tradition to thrive on a 1:4 scale!
The simplest answer to the Christmas tree dilemma is perhaps the least expensive and – some might argue – the least creative. All you need is a little bit of blank wall to put up a vinyl tree decal. In the last few years the sticker decals have become increasingly popular as they are suitable for smooth surfaces, appliances, windows, and more. They can be used in a tight entryway or even behind a current piece of furniture. If you think they lack depth just remember. If you’ve been a good boy or girl it will soon be enhanced by presents! You can find a number of tree decals on Etsy.com.
When I was growing up we had a family cat. He lived indoors and I am convinced he behaved so well from January to November just so he could win the affection of the house and mentally prepare for December. For as soon as the Christmas tree went up he made light work of the tinsel, glass ornaments, light cords, etc. He even forgot he was house broken and treated the trunk of the tree to a little nitrogen boost! Why not avoid such loss and go with a cheap and easy cardboard Christmas tree? Varying in size, style, and even color, these recyclable trees are great for a number of occasions and if presented well can evoke the holiday spirit as well as any fir at the local lot. You say you don’t want to pay the money for material you have lying around the house? How about a cardboard tree you can Do-It-Yourself?
Perhaps you don’t celebrate Christmas with a tree adorned with Christian symbols or even Hallmark memories. That shouldn’t stop you from decorating your Ho-Ho-Home! A number of people collect small metal charms traditional in Hispanic cultures known as milagros or “miracles.” This season why not get festive with a milagro tree handcrafted in rustic iron and topped with a star? Available exclusively at sundance.
The Light Tree
So you have an electrical outlet but you don’t have floor space? Why not try one of the prettiest and most affordable Christmas tree alternative? Dubbed “the Light Tree” it can be framed in any size you like and can be decorated in almost any way you like. Little more than the outline of a classic Christmas tree using some sort of interior Christmas lights, the light tree casts a festive, ambient glow on your tiny house and provides a magical way to start off the holidays.
photo courtesy of Christmas On A Budget
We’ve seen Adirondack chairs. We’ve seen end tables and side boards and footstools and hanging shelves and wine cases and bed frames and just about anything else that calls for wood. They are pallet designs and they are more popular each year. If you have some pallets laying around or just love that shabby chic, recycled look, why not try a pallet tree this year? With its 2-D, borderline 3-D design, and limited need or use of floor space this tree is just right for the retrofit crowd. The coolest thing though is how limitless the tree can be. Each rung of the tree can be scrolled or tapered or angled. You can stack “branches”. You can paint on the “branches.” You can inset LED rope lighting or use backlight. You can string ornaments on them. They are truly versatile and easy enough to build for anyone with the slightest bit of hammer and nail experience.
photo courtesy of Something For Nothing Blog