Maybe you’ve got a small living space, you worry about safety with your curious kiddies, or you’re simply on a strict holiday budget — whatever the reason, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the age-old tradition of a Christmas tree in your own unique way.

Here are our seven favorite Christmas tree alternative crafts/designs/solutions to try this year.

1. Brown Scale

Christmas on a serious budget! (Note: this design is actually a templated project from Instructables using a kit from Makedo, but we’re sure this is easy to recreate with a little creativity and some extra boxes!) Keep your cardboard tree neutral and bare, cover it in wrapping paper or fabric, or have the kids "decorate" the tree with crayon or marker drawings. Either way, this looks like an amazing snow or rainy day project!

2. Rustic Renewal

A cheap showstopper, without a doubt! Take those fallen branches from yours and your neighbors' yards, stick them into a secured foam block at the bottom of a planter pot, and then decorate as you wish! Use lots of small lights wrapped around each branch to get this ethereal explosion effect.

3. A Garden of Possibilities

It’s not really a garden, just a unique way to use a tomato cage. These cages are very cheap at home and garden stores, and the little ones can still have fun with lights, garland, and ornaments! And there’s still a perfect spot right at the top (and at the perfect height) for your tot to place the star topper!

4. Ornamental Idea

Ornaments are half the fun of a Christmas tree and there's no room to skimp with this alternative tree idea. Hang them on an old window screen for some rustic flair or carefully hot glue them to a piece of shaped cardboard to put anywhere.

5. Light of My Life

Six nails and a string of white or colored lights — that’s what it takes to anchor this simple design to your wall and create a tree-like effect in a minimal space. Just remember to start the trunk of the tree a few inches above the floor to avoid a fire hazard with the carpet and keep paper ornaments safely away from the bulbs.

6. Chalk It Up

Chalkboard paint is cheap enough at any home improvement store and everyone can have fun drawing on the wall. Start a tradition by playing "12 Days of Christmas" where every day someone gets to draw a new holiday-themed object on the tree!

7. Stick to It

Tight space? Go low profile with stickers, photographs, or paper snowflakes to create an interesting and kid-friendly tree. Lightly draw out a triangle shape on the wall and then fill it in with flat, colorful décor of your choice.

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