Theme Christmas Tree Ideas

While I'm a big fan of tradition, seems a shame that the holiday tree tends to look exactly the same from year to year.  Wouldn't it be fun to challenge yourself and your family to create a new tree every year?  Or - keep the traditional tree but set up another tree somewhere else in the house to play with.  Or - set up a whole line of small Christmas trees in a hall and decorate each of them differently.

Here are some of the themes I've been thinking about trying.  Note that I've tried to stick to broad themes rather than anything too specific.  If you want an angel tree, or a pit bull tree, or a Santa Claus tree, go for it ... but my ideas are meant to be more general, able to incorporate ornaments representing any number of specific interests.
  1. Nature Tree.  All decorations have to be derived from nature - perhaps with the addition of some glitter and ribbon in moderation.  Pine cone balls, dried flower posies, baked orange or pomegranate slices, lemons, acorn clusters, straw wreaths, seashells ... so many ideas!
  2. Paper Tree.  All decorations have to be made from paper.  Think origami animals, pretty paper cones decorated with bits of lace, paper boxes tied with bits of ribbon, paper fans, pictures in paper frames, maybe even a paper airplane or two!
  3. Food Tree.  All decorations have to made from food.  Imagine gingerbread men, candy canes, and festively-wrapped candies dangling from festive red ribbon.  And don't forget the popcorn and cranberry garland ...! 
  4. Gingerbread Tree.  There are few foods more closely associated with Christmas than gingerbread: why not celebrate all that gingery, clovey goodness with a tree dripping with gingerbread houses, gingerbread men, and a garland fashioned from gingerbread stars and cranberries?
  5. Glass Tree.  There are so many beautiful ornaments made of glass!  Besides balls, look for glass candy canes, glass candies, glass ornaments, and decorative glass tiles.
  6. Craft Tree.  If you are the crafty sort, challenge yourself to decorate a tree with handcrafted ornaments.  Decorations can represent one specialty (ex: carved/turned wood decorations; sewn decorations; crocheted or cross-stiched decorations), or a variety of different artistic media.
  7. Burlap & Tartan Tree.  After you've finished hanging all the burlap & tartan ornaments, wrap the tree in burlap ribbon and top with a tartan star.
  8. Animal Tree.   Turn your tree over to animals - either a single species, or a mix of your favorites.  For instance, a bird tree might include bird ornaments, bird silhouettes pasted on paper circles, pinecones coated in birdseed, and mini-birdhouses.
  9. Star Tree. A lovely nod to the reason for the season, a star tree - composed of stars in all shapes, colors and textures - can be customized to match any style and décor.
  10. Alphabet Tree.  Collect different textures and styles of letters - wood, tin, fabric, paper, alphabet blocks, etc. - and then dangle them the branches of your tree using twine or wire
  11. Retro Tree.  Pick an era and recreate it in your living room.  Create a colonial tree, a Victorian tree, a 1950 tree, or a 1970s tree.  You don't necessarily have to limit yourself to decorations from that era as long as you faithfully reproduce the patterns and shapes of the era in the decorations you choose.
  12. Patriotic Tree.  Add a little patriotism to your tree by choosing ornaments that represent the U.S.A. Imagine red/white/blue ribbon rosettes sharing a tree with buffalo ornaments, retro tin Uncle Sams, miniature drums, and miniature scrolled Constitutions peaking out between strands of garland from which dangle retro state postcards - very unique!  (You can, of course, choose to celebrate another country entirely if your loyalties lie elsewhere - God Save the Queen!) 
  13. Wooden Toy Tree.  Celebrate your inner child by adorning your tree with wooden trains, cars, tops, yoyos, wheeled animal cutouts, trucks, and puzzle pieces.   
  14. Children's Tree.  Challenge your children to create all the decorations for your tree.  They can include paper doll chains, sequin-adorned styrofoam balls, pom-pom animals with googly eyes, pipecleaner candy canes, glitter-painted wood cutouts ... and then wrap it all up in a construction paper chain of green and red links.
  15. Color Tree.  Pick a favorite color and decorate the tree with ornaments of that color.  By all means pick red, green, gold, silver or another seasonal color - but why not take a chance and do an orange tree, a pink tree, or even a turquoise tree?  For variety, make sure you vary the size, texture, material, and shade of the ornaments you choose. 
  16. "My Favorite Thing" Tree.  What's your passion? Books? Camping? Cooking? Music? Gardening? Your faith? Decorate your whole tree with ornaments that celebrate the things you are passionate about.
  17. Collection Tree.  What is it that you collect?  Rocks? Spoons? Political memorabilia?  Pez dispensers? Antique playing cards?  Wooden thread spindles? Some collectibles are, admittedly, more suitable for a Christmas tree than others, but if your collectables are of an appropriate scale, consider turning your tree into a unique, festive display.
  18. Regional Tree.  Pick a part of the world that's close to your heart and create a tree that celebrates the region's culture. Perhaps a southwestern tree draped with Indian dreamcatchers and ornaments made out of dried cacti? A beach tree decorated with shells and starfish? A Hawaiian-themed three adorned with bright paper flowers and puka-shell garland? A British themed tree sporting teapots, red phonebooths and Union Jacks?
  19. Vacation Tree.  Either "repurpose" souvenirs purchased on family trips or create new ones to capture your family's travel memories. Seashell & starfish ornaments to represent those beach trips; a fish ornament for all the fishing outings with granddad; a dolphin to represent that trip you took to Sea World ....  Everyone in the family will enjoy reminiscing about great family memories as you decorate the tree together.
  20. Family Tree.  Challenge everyone in the family to create (or select) ornaments that represent themselves and/or members of the family - close or extended.  Photos work well ... or be a little less literal and select ornaments that symbolize each person's passions or personality. 

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