The Christmas tree is a classic symbol of the holiday season and sometimes, maybe the best way to get in the holiday mood. You put an evergreen tree in the middle of your living room, decorate it with lights, ornaments and tinsel, and—boom—Christmas spirit!
But what if, for whatever reason, you can’t have one? What do you do when you can’t keep a pine tree in your living space, but you still need a little Christmas? Maybe you have a small living room, or live in an eighth-floor walk-up. Perhaps you have pets who eat Christmas trees and can't resist playing with dangling ornaments. Or, in these economic times, you just can’t afford something as frivolous as a celebratory pine.
No matter the reason, there is a solution: you can still have a festive Christmas-tree-like item to get you in the mood.


    Oil-Lamp Tree

    If you don’t have the space, can’t afford one, don’t like the smell or needles, or you just don’t want to drag a tree up seven flights of stairs, the oil-lamp tree is for you. This little gadget adds warmth to your room while displaying an inviting Christmas tree on the wall. It’s simple, elegant, and your cat isn’t likely to yak it up later. The fire risk is the same as with a real tree, so don’t leave it on unattended.


    Wall-Art Tree

    Christmas tree ornaments often have sentimental value, so when you decide not to have a tree, more than just the pine scent goes missing from your holiday. If you can’t have a tree, or if the ornaments cause your pets to go into “Oooh, can we play with that?” mode, this wall-art tree idea is the way to go. Take all your Christmas memories and put them on your wall in the shape of a tree. It takes up less space, the cats don’t care so much, and the clean-up is a snap. Don’t miss out on Christmas memories just because there’s no dying evergreen in your den.


    Wooden-Slat Tree

    This wooden tree gives you all the holiday cheer of a traditional Christmas tree without the sap, watering, dry needles or scary, synthetic non-eco-friendly phoniness of a fir tree or a fake tree. What you get from PossibiliTree is a full-size tree made of wooden slats. It’s renewable, you can hang your ornaments on it, and you don’t have to haul it up and down the stairs. You can get a six-foot tree that hangs from your ceiling, or a three-foot tree for a tabletop, and both come rolled up in a bundle and are very easy to set up. They add beauty, art and cheer to your holiday season.


    Recycled CD & Cassette Tree

    If you’re going green this year, you may not want to go with the green at all. If, now that your music and video collections are all digital, you have a bunch of old, useless CDs and cassettes lying around, why not try what artist Tom Deininger did at the Chelsea Market in New York a couple of years ago? String up those CDs, light them up, tinsel them with cassette tape, and watch them sparkle.


    Cardboard-Box Tree

    Your gifts come in boxes, so maybe your tree should be in boxes, too. Here’s a very eco-friendly way to celebrate the holidays and have a little DIY fun too. The gang at MakeDo have put together this make-it-yourself kit for using spare cardboard boxes to create your own modern holiday tree. It seems simple, unless you’re terrible at making stuff, in which case it might be a bit more difficult. If you like making stuff, though, this is the tree for you. And they don’t show it in the picture, but you could probably poke some hangers on there and hang up your ornaments for the full effect.


    Tannenboing Tree

    This tree looks fun and has a fun name. It’s a tannenboing, of course! Made of recycled aluminum, this tree stores flat, then springs into action when the holidays roll around. The 20-pound tree hangs from the ceiling with a professional rigging system (that comes with it), and then you can decorate it however you like. There are holes in it so you can hang ornaments or lights, or you can just get creative. It’s great for having a festive, holiday feel while keeping your decor modern and free of tree sap and non-renewable synthetics.


    Upside-Down Tree

    If you really want to make a statement for the holidays, look no further than the upside-down Christmas tree from Hammacher Schlemmer. This tree takes up less space and gets those ornaments out of the reach of pets and kids, but you still have a tree to put gifts under. If anyone asks, it’s actually more traditional than a standard tree because it is recalls the 12th-century European tradition of hanging a tree from the ceiling. The tree maybe upside-down, but the warm glow from the lights is just the same. And, it’s not like you have to be upside-down when you sing ‘Oh Christmas Tree.’ (Unless you want to.)


    Ladder Tree

    This is a low-rent fix to your holiday-tradition issues. You don’t need to get a tree, all you need is a ladder, which you may already have. A ladder is easier to get in and out of your house than a real tree, and it leaves no mess. A ladder is easer to set up than a fake tree, and you’ll be able to use it even when it’s not Christmas. A ladder makes you look smart and resourceful. Just find the perfect spot, open it up, string your lights and garland, then hang your ornaments. There’s even room underneath for presents.


    Wall-Sticker Tree

    The holidays are a busy time. You have so many things going on that you need to simplify your season. This wall-sticker tree helps you cut out the Christmas tree process without leaving you spirit-less. The decal trees come in 20 different colors and are easy to apply to any wall that needs sprucing up (heh). They’re made in the U.K., but international delivery is available, so you can have one in your home by the time your decorations need to go up. And you won’t have to strap it onto the top of your car, Griswold-style, to get it there.


    Giving Tree

    This tree has a unique look and a unique purpose. What sets it apart from other alternative trees is that for every large Christmas tree that’s sold, the manufacturer will plant five trees. It’s the tree that keeps on giving. You can get it in a stylish, natural-wood color to set off your darker ornaments, or in a more traditional green. It comes in a variety of sizes, so it can take up as little or as much space as you want it to. The tree is made of birch and stores flat, meaning that if space is an issue, Matteria has your answer.