You know how at the end of Christmas, when you've taken down the beautiful Christmas tree that has brightened up your home, everything suddenly looks bare and sad? I always feel that packing away the decorations and taking down the tree is quite a depressing end of the festive season ritual. But what if we simply left it up all year and repurposed it for other celebrations? What if we could use it to observe holidays, religious festivals, birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations.
Since we have a fresh cut real tree for Christmas, it isn't possible to leave it up year-round. Fresh trees usually start dropping needles by Christmas and ours barely lasts till the 6th of January when I take it down. So because of this, I like to use a small white twig tree instead. The one I have actually has tiny lights along the branches, so it lights up with a pretty warm glow. I chose to buy one, as I liked the light-up feature and because even if I don't decorate it, it still looks lovely lighting up a dark corner.
There are other ways to create the same effect. You don't actually need to buy one…using dried up twigs from your garden or nearby woodland, you can leave them natural or paint them in a colour of your choice. I like the white as it's natural and brighter than natural brown twigs, but that's just a personal preference. Making these for various celebrations is great fun and so simple and an activity you can involve your child in. Children love making decorations and they enjoy seeing them displayed too.
In this post I discuss the following topics:
If you plan it carefully, you will be able to find something each month to celebrate. I take a look at the holidays' calendar for the UK and our birthdays calendar. This helps me choose which days are worth celebrating and if I can't find one I like, then I make the tree seasonal. Simply dressing it with things that remind me of that season.
We like to decorate one as our Spring or Easter celebration tree. We have hung felt sheep, chicks and bunnies as well as paper egg shapes. You can also decorate it with paper flowers, feathers, chocolate eggs and butterflies. Pastel coloured feather boas can function as a garland. Use anything that reminds you of Spring or Easter. Some people chose to decorate using religious items like palm crosses or bible verses. Pastel coloured or pink/yellow or blue lights and ribbons help to herald the start of the new season.
Hang paper fruits, berries, woodland creatures like foxes or squirrels. Small hanging pumpkins and leaves in autumn colours look super. Sunflowers and raffia make a stunning feature for these themes. You could write what you are thankful for on the leaf shapes. Use this tree to celebrate nature's bounty.
ALL YEAR ROUND: Cut out paper balloon shapes or even inflate mini water balloons. Card candle shapes or even birthday cake wax candles hanging on the tree look cute and festive. Cheerfully wrapped gift-boxes with pretty bows complete the theme. I also like to use tiny hanging photo frames with photographs of the birthday boy or girl in them. It makes it truly personal. If you don't have frames, printing the pictures onto thicker card stock and threading colourful thread through them looks just as lovely. A photo of the birthday boy or girl or a gift box will top off the tree nicely.
This tree can be used to hang shells or other treasures found whilst on holiday. Add ticket stubs and receipts for all the events you attend or places that you visit. Write place names and print photographs from your trip sunshine paper shapes. If you're not travelling, add objects that feel summery to you. Miniature bucket and spades, pool floats, sun hats, beach towels and sand-filled bottles can be really cute. If you're crafty inclined, perhaps cutting up old swimsuits or towels and making them into a mini bunting garland to drape on the tree will bring back memories of the times you used those items. Keep doing this over the course of the holiday period and you will end up with a visual reminder of all the fun you had over the Summer! Put a big sunshine shape at the top!
FEBRUARY: Decorate this celebration tree with paper hearts and love messages or poems. Hang chocolate hearts and miniature cards or letters in envelopes addressed to family or friends from a secret admirer. Paint little wooden hearts in solid red and white paint or pretty patterns. Bunting made from heart-shaped fabric or card can also ensure the tree doesn't look a little sparse. Little hanging cupids are sweet and will give your love inspired tree a little bit of cuteness. A big heart or photo of loved ones make a perfect topper.
APRIL: St George’s Day is a time to celebrate the patron saint of England. It’s a super excuse to enjoy or learn about some of England’s customs and traditions, and also to think about knights and castles and dragons! Decorate in red and white, use little English flags, red roses, knights and dragons.
MARCH: Celebrate all things Welsh by decorating with beautiful daffodils, and the St David's flag. Yellow and black ribbon or bunting would suit this look.
MARCH: Decorate with handmade shamrocks and gold chocolate or plastic coins. Mini hanging rainbows, leprechauns, and pots of gold look perfect for this theme. Write the things that you wish for onto green paper shamrock shapes to hang on the branches. Use coloured tree lights to brighten it up and add to the rainbow theme. Using rainbow ribbon or brightly coloured ribbons to tie to the branches makes for a beautiful tree at the beginning of Spring in the UK. For the topper use rainbow ribbons draped down from the top point.
Help your children to decorate a tree for these days. They could use shapes or objects that go with your hobbies or favourite things. For example- for a dad who loves sport, decorate the tree with paper balls, clubs, bats, boots, racquets. Hang little messages and chocolates on the tree. Decorate it in the parents favourite colour. Doing this together with your child can help them to learn about you and spend time talking to you about the things you love. It could be a wonderful way to bond.
I know one does not usually have a tree for this particular holiday but it can be fun to decorate with spider webs, paper or plastic spiders, salt dough ghosts, orange tinsel or ribbons, paper or plastic bats, paper jack o' lanterns, witches hats or other spooky items. Write some “spooky” jokes onto shapes and hang them on the tree. You could make the tree as scary or as cute as you like depending on the age of your children. Ideas for the topper? A witch, orange and black ribbon, a ghost, a black cat or your own favourite Halloween character.
There are some generic decorations you could make for each theme.
As you can see, repurposing your Christmas tree (or using a twig tree) really lends itself to almost any celebration. There are so many others I have not even mentioned in this post which you might choose to celebrate. With a little imagination, celebration trees can become a feature of all your special days!
I am a preschool and primary school teacher and mum to 3 children. I have been involved in education since 1997 and have trained in a variety of educational specialist areas. It is with this expertise that I write articles to help parents and educators provide quality learning experiences for the children in their care.