I have always been a Christmas person. Even as a child, it wasn't just the presents that made this my favorite holiday. It was the weeks-long build-up and all the traditions along the way. In early December my mom would get out all of the decorations from the attic and we would help her decorate the house, something in nearly every room. The grand finale, of course, was trimming the tree and it was so pleasurable to open the boxes of ornaments - "remember this one? who made that one? oh, my favorite!" Fastforward to adulthood and I've never had a Christmas tree in my own apartment.
For one thing, I've never spent Christmas day in my own, adult home. I always travel to my mom's or, since marrying, alternating to my in-law's home. But the primary reason I've never had a real Christmas tree is that I've always lived in small apartments. A tree takes up quite a bit of room and even small scale trees didn't seem worth the effort.
Are you, too, a Christmas tree lover but don't have room for the 'full monty'? Here's something to think about - what is it about a Christmas tree you love the most?
Is it the twinkling lights that make a room feel cozy?
There are plenty of places in a home to use string lights for a similar effect. Hang them like a garland, wrap them around a wreath or bunch them up in a bowl. Turn them on in the evening and bask in the glow. If you don't want to store lights year-round, candles are a great substitute.
Is it the scent of evergreen that your brain nostalgically associates with the holiday?
You can always buy a scented candle or potpourri, but the best substitute is just greens - hang a wreath inside your home instead of on an exterior door, make a swag for a doorway, arrange greens on a mantle or tabletop or, most simply, arrange some cut greens in a vase. Sometimes you can get fresh greens at the grocery store and you can almost always get them from any place that sells fresh Christmas trees.
Is it having a place to hang ornaments and other decorations?
String garlands around a doorway or across a mantle, ornaments can be hung from thin tree branches that you find outdoors or from string or wire that you hang up on a wall. You can create some vignettes around your home using your favorite ornaments and decorations or even make a tabletop Christmas Village .
Is the form of a tree just too strong a symbol of the holidays for you to abandon?
If it's the form of a tree that you crave, you can create one out of almost anything on a wall or door. (Bonus, you can put your gifts under it on Christmas morning). Decals, chalkboard paint, washi tape, whatever supplies you have around. Here are 15 ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Ok, ok, get a tree. Just get a small one. May I suggest:
- A super skinny tree
- A really short tree
- A tabletop tree or robust rosemary plant
- NOT an artificial tree unless you can store it outside of your home (but if that's an option, there are very slender fake trees, like this "pencil tree")
Urban areas especially cater to apartment dwellers and often have the shrimpiest trees from the farm. If the place you're buying a tree from doesn't have something small when you go - ask if they have anything they can bring tomorrow. Tabletop trees or rosemary plants are usually under $20 and will last long past the holiday.
So, however you Tannenbaum it up around your house - enjoy!
Re-edited from a post originally published 11.21.2013 - CM