There are few sights and scents that so immediately communicate Christmas as a decked out tree in the living room. The tradition of the decorated Christmas tree, which dates back to 15th century Europe, has become as integral to the holiday as the presents.
For those living in an apartment or condo however, there isn't always the space for a full-sized tree. But rather than forgo this important holiday tradition, we have a few alternatives that conserve space, without sacrificing Christmas cheer.
For a tree alternative that is bound to start a few conversations, consider a Bonsai Christmas tree. Bonsai is a Japanese practice of cultivating miniature trees in small pots. While there are many species of Bonsai trees, for a Christmas version, you should get a coniferous species which resembles a traditional Christmas tree. Decorate it with a few strands of tinsel, miniature lights and a tiny star and it'll be nearly as good as the real thing.
Left to its own devices, a rosemary bush can become a bit of a sprawling mess. But with a little careful cultivation and pruning, it can be shaped to resemble a miniature Christmas tree. Standing around 18-inches tall, these pine-like plants are the perfect tabletop tree, giving off a wonderful fragrant scent. And not only do these bushes look and smell great, they do double duty as as herbs for your Christmas dinner.
Charlie Brown Tree
Since its debut in 1965, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" has become one of the most enduring American holiday traditions. Every year, viewers relive the tale of the luckless Charlie Brown and his sad little Christmas tree that "just needs a little love." Celebrate the season by decorating your place with your very own Charlie Brown tree this year.
Deck the Walls
If you don't have the space for a tree, decorate the wall. This crafty alternative comes from Apartment Therapy. Simply deck the walls with Christmas decorations in the shape of a tree. It's as ingenious as it is beautiful, and it doesn't take up a single square foot.
From a space standpoint, a Christmas tree doesn't make a lot of sense. Bulging at the bottom and trim up top, a tree's conical shape can eat up tons of precious space in the home. But no one says a tree has to be displayed right-side up. Flipped on its head, the upside-down Christmas tree only takes up a square foot or so of floor space, and gives you plenty of extra room to gather presents under it (for those really big presents you're expecting).
When space is limited, half a tree will do. The flat-backed tree presses up neatly against the wall and only takes half the space of a regular conifer. If you're worried guests will laugh at you for getting half a tree, put it up against a full-length mirror and you've magically got a full one.