Monday, December 1, 2014

Alternatives to Traditional Christmas Trees

Yes, they are lovely to look at, but they are also costly (more and more so each year), and quite often they make a rather untidy mess on the floor. Unless you have kids at home and/or you find you just can't live without that fresh pine smell this time of the year, you may be wavering on whether or not to keep buying a Christmas tree year after year.

Yes, there are living trees for purchase and later planting, and yes, depending on where you live you can rent one, but wouldn't it be so much more interesting to do something different, something eco-friendly, and maybe even artistic? (Not to mention economical!) Read on!

This was one of my favorite contributions to the  Helium Celebrations channel. I really wish I  had a photo to go with this post! Originally published in November of 2010.

How to use a Wooden Ladder as a Christmas Tree

The idea of using a wooden ladder as a Christmas tree may seem odd to some, but to those who are imaginative or creative minded, it’s not only eco-friendly, it’s downright brilliant! No pruning, no pine needles to sweep up, no worry of water evaporation creating a fire hazard from a dry tree, and best of all, no extra expense – that is, as long as you already own the ladder.
A wooden ladder as a Christmas tree presents so many possibilities. The ladder could be draped and decorated like a tree or left bare and strung with multi-colored Christmas lights. Gifts could be strategically placed on the ladder’s “steps” while the other side of the ladder could be used for hanging everything from cards to stockings to ornaments.
The ladder could be painted green or left its natural wood color, which would probably be best since the ladder would mostly likely go back to its normal function once the Christmas holiday season is over. One way to add green though would be to drape a green fabric such as felt or even satin down the front of the ladder the way one would carpet a stairwell.
Decorative objects or even potted plants such as poinsettias, miniature pines or rosemary could then be arranged on the ladder’s steps to create a stunning display. After Christmas the plants could then be repotted or donated. Alternatively, collectibles could be arranged on the ladder’s steps to create an ascending display of figurines, snow globes, music boxes, gingerbread houses, candy dishes, vintage toys and any other sentimental object significant to you and your family.
Decorating the ladder without any kind of fabric draping should begin with the lights just like a real Christmas tree. This way you can carefully arrange the strands by weaving them in and out of or around the rungs/steps. Use clear lights for a conservative look and colored likes if going for a classic or theme look. Colored lights and a few strategically placed ornaments can more than serve as a substitute Christmas tree.
Many people like to decorate their Christmas trees in specific color schemes that change each year and the same approach can be taken when using a folding wooden ladder as a tree. There’s no hand and fast rule that says your Christmas tree has to be an actual tree. Just be careful climbing the ladder while decorating and follow the same safety rules you would when using the ladder to do projects around your home.