September 14, 2015

When I was little, my family and I would drive down to a local Christmas tree farm every December. It was a magical time for me and my siblings. We would run around and see who could find the biggest trees. The pine scent and festive atmosphere made it one of our favorite times of year.


It was less fun for my mom, who knew it was only a matter of time before the tree started shedding dried pine needles everywhere (needles she would have to clean up). After another Christmas or two, we stopped decorating trees for that very reason.


Are you tired of a real Christmas tree, too? Why not make your own? Over 50 million Christmas trees are purchased every year and 30 million of those go straight to landfills! Creating your own tree can be fun and a great way to go green for the holidays without sacrificing any Christmas cheer.


One of the easiest ways to make your own Christmas tree is to use things from the garden, like a tomato cage. You can find tomato cages very easily in any kind of home improvement stores or places such as Walmart and Target (although they may be in seasonal aisles). They range from anywhere from 3 to 6 feet or more, and they are less than 4 dollars!




If you take one and flip it upside down, you notice it already starts to look like a tree itself. Now you can either place it into a pot with soil to give it more of a traditional look, or you can just leave it as it is. I suggest the pot because once you’re done you can’t even tell that it’s homemade. If you stick with a pot, use some metal wires or old clothe hangers and bend some pieces to secure the cage in. Once that’s all set, you can buy some garland and wrap it around in a spiral motion to cover each and every part of the cage. Then decorate it with some Christmas lights and ornaments.



These Christmas “trees” are very easy to clean up and look just as nice if you take the time to decorate them. Smaller ones give a unique feeling to the room. You can decorate small tables and areas where you would relax. Make any room in the house feel like Christmas!


tomato-cage-christmas-tree-diy ladder-christmas-tree


Another interesting alternative is the ladder tree. After my family stopped decorating Christmas trees, I joked with my brother about decorating a ladder instead. I never thought someone would actually do it! It’s another easy alternative if you want to try something new last minute. Just don’t walk under the ladder



DIY Tomato Cage Christmas Tree Tutorial




1. Gather your tomato cages and lights. A 6 to 10-foot string of lights should cover a 3-foot-tall tomato cage. I went for a more minimal look with these trees, so be sure to use a longer string of lights or multiple strings if you want your trees full of volume.


Tomato-Cage-Christmas-Tree-bare Tomato-Cage-Christmas-Tree-bare-2

Tomato-Cage-Christmas-Tree-lights-1 Tomato-Cage-Christmas-Tree-lights-2



2. Once you have your supplies, flip the cage upside down so that the forks that would normally go into the ground are facing up. I’ve found that it’s easiest to twist the wires together to create the top of the tree. It does get rough on your hands, so I recommend using gloves or pliers. Once you have the top formed, thread the female end of the lights into the top.




3. Then begin to wrap the lights around the cage from the top down. I wrap the top multiple times in a ball like fashion to make sure the top is nice and well-lit. This is also a good way to try to hide the plug end of the string a bit.




4. Continue to wrap the lights down the cage. I found it’s easiest to step on the cage or place your knee on it while I use my arms to get the lights around the cage. If you have a helper, it may be easier to have one person hold the lights while the other person spins the cage around. Make sure to circle around the parts of the cage where two wires cross together so that your lights stay secure and don’t slide around when you’re done.


Tomato-Cage-Christmas-Tree-wrap Tomato-Cage-Christmas-Tree-decorating.jpg


5. Once you get to the bottom of the tree, simply wrap the plug around the base wire or tie it to keep it in place.






Enjoy your new decor! Like I said, I went for a very minimal look with these trees — they could use another strand or two of lights and some ornaments too. For more holiday tree inspiration, check out my Pinterest board below. These trees use mesh, ribbons, and other traditional tree decor, and many of them look real!


Follow New England Design and Construction’s board Alternative Christmas Trees on Pinterest.

Have fun with your Christmas decor this holiday.

Be sure to spend some quality time with loved ones gathered around whatever tree you choose.


 for more decorating and home improvement tips!

Published September 14, 2015 | By
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