12 Christmas Decorating Ideas That Don’t Involve a Tree

This post was updated November 2021.

For some, it just doesn’t feel like Christmas until the tree is trimmed. For others, decorating with a full-size tree is not an option. And that’s okay. So whether you lack the space, the time or the energy this year for full-scale decorating, there are plenty of equally festive (and easier) ways to add merriment to your rooms without a tree. And if you do have a tree, but you’d love Christmas decorating ideas for other rooms, read on.

Christmas decorating ideas Christmas greenery in vases from Ballard Designs

1. Make Mini-Arrangements with Greenery

Infuse your home with winter’s bounty. Nestle simple sprigs of greenery and magnolia leaves in pretty vases to create a quick and easy arrangement that can go anywhere, from the family room coffee table to the buffet in the dining room. Here, we put them in our Blue and White Chinoiserie Collection.

2. Embellish a Chandelier

Weave greenery through a chandelier or dangle a few ornaments from the arms for an unexpected festive touch. And by going vertical with your Christmas decorating, you’re freeing up valuable serving space in your kitchen or dining room.

3. Decorate Your Windows

Decorating your windows is a perfect small-space solution for bringing holiday cheer to your home. Display Christmas cards, hang wreaths or suspend ornaments with festive ribbon over your windows, as we did here.

4. Transform A Message Board or Shelf

Bring your Christmas decorating hat to your wall décor. Get into the spirit in your home office or kitchen by clearing your message board to display Christmas cards, mini wreaths or other holiday décor. Shelves are the perfect spot for mini trees and wreaths.

Use a tiny tree instead

5. Scale Down with a Small Tree

Whether you don’t want the hassle or you don’t have the room for a full tree, there is another option: go smaller. Look for an unused corner or use the space under the stairs to place a miniature tree. Or, put a tabletop version on your dining room table, kitchen island or coffee table.

6. Add Amaryllis

Bright red amaryllis plants are the perfect punch to an entryway, console, bookshelf, or kitchen island. We love how they’re subtly festive but easy to incorporate from October well past the New Year. This is one accent you don’t have to pack away with your other holiday items.

Christmas Decorating Ideas: Christmas tree made from ornaments hung on a bulletin board

7. Go Glam with Ornaments

Whether you have a tree or not, think outside the box and find different ways to display your ornaments for extra sparkle. We dreamed up this spectacular one-dimensional tree using our collection of ornaments — and made clever use of wall space.

8. Have Fun with Wreaths

One of favorite Christmas decorating ideas? Use outdoor decor like wreaths to add a festive touch to unexpected places in your home. Think beyond the centerpiece and invite your chairs to the party by hanging wreaths on the back, or hang a wreath on a mirror for an understated touch.

9. Make a Festive Place Setting

If you’re going to be playing hostess, the dining room table is always a great place to add holiday color. Think outside the box when it comes to your table — berries, greenery, small wrapped gifts, or an orange with cloves can give your table extra holiday flair!

 10. Create a Statement Making Mantel

Deconstruct the Christmas tree and reinterpret it into a red and green mantlescape. We nestled ornaments in our greenery, hung our stockings with a unique touch, and included an extra holiday touch with plaid drapery and pillows.

Christmas Decorating Ideas: Hang garland or greenery behind a headboard

11. Bring Out the Garland

Garland adds instant color and texture wherever you put it. Drape it around a banister or above your bed to create a dramatic focal point.

12. Hang Greenery in an Unexpected Place

It’s easy to go overboard when decorating for Christmas, but you can never go wrong with the simplicity of a swag of greenery. We love to add a little in an unexpected place, such as over a plaque, in a kitchen or over a bookcase.

Browse all of our holiday décor. Looking for more Christmas decorating ideas? Read these helpful posts below:

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    December 18, 2016

    I love to look at the pictures to see how things are done but you as other companies have decided to cover half the page with advertising. So all I can see is half of the picture at a time when I would rather see the whole display. All the pop up ads, having to click 5 times to get rid of them before I can read or see any thing- I just start giving up and close the page. I, for one, just find it most annoying.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      December 19, 2016

      Hi Charlie,
      I’m concerned about your comment. We don’t have any advertising on this site. Can you describe for me what you’re seeing or perhaps send an email to dilemmas@ballarddesigns.com/howtodecorate with a screenshot!
      No ads just be on this site so we just want to make sure that’s the experience you’re having.

  2. Reply

    Barbara Morrison-Williams

    December 17, 2016

    Great ideas. Now I have other options to replace the tree this year. Thank you.

  3. Reply


    December 17, 2016

    Everything is beautiful. Thanks for some great ideas.

  4. Reply


    December 11, 2016

    Sounds like a stupid question, but what method do you use to hang a chair wreath that doesn’t have any openings in the back? The chair in this post has a solid back, and since there is no opening to loop the ribbon through, how do you get it to hang on the chair? Is there an invisible hook somewhere that I’m not seeing? I have similar chairs and would like to try this idea. Thanks!!

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      December 12, 2016

      We used a small T-pin to hang the wreath!

  5. Reply


    November 29, 2016

    I really like the idea of the ornament tree #7. Can you tell me how big it is? It looks huge. Thanks in advance.

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      November 30, 2016

      This particular one is very large, though you could certainly recreate it on a smaller scale! This message is 53″ X 83 1/4″.
      Glad you like it!

  6. Reply


    December 4, 2015

    on the framed ornament tree….how did you attach the ornaments?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      December 7, 2015

      They’re attached with simple T-pins.

  7. Reply

    john bodderd

    November 29, 2015

    I must say this is the best setup I have seen in years. Im so happy its Christmas and happy new years to you old oldies

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      December 1, 2015

      Thanks, John! Happy Holidays!

    • Reply


      November 26, 2016

      I am usually very outspoken but in this case I would keep quiet. Seems like the much kinder option.

  8. Reply

    marie capsfire

    November 29, 2015

    I went to my friends Christmas party and I wanted to tell them that is was boring and little decoration. I feel sending her a text wont do the job. Should I tell her or just tweet about it?

    • Reply


      December 1, 2016

      Why would you tell something like that to a “friend” who thought enough of you to invite you to their party ? They may not know how to decorate and may even plan a party. Try mentioning that next time they plan a party to let you help plan and decorate.

    • Reply


      December 6, 2016

      To Marie. I also think it would be very hurtful to tweet out or tell your friends their party was boring.., and yes you should drop a hand written thank you card for the party and maybe let her know (as Lisa said above) that you would love to help with next party.

    • Reply


      December 18, 2016

      I wouldn’t tell her. It might hurt her feelings. If she asks you then it’s okay to tell her otherwise just enjoy her company and maybe bring a decorative gift for her.

  9. Reply

    nik broomsbelt

    November 29, 2015

    My stepson just finished college and is coming home for the holidays and hes bringing his girlfriend Jesenda and I don’t know how to impress them.what should I do?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      December 1, 2015


      We think the best advice for visiting guests during the holidays is to simply create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your home, which isn’t necessarily done by decorating, but by being warm and inviting yourself. A great hostess is the best way to impress guests!

      We also might suggest giving the guest bedroom where you son’s girlfriend will be staying some extra fluffing! A scented candle next to the bed, a carafe of water, fresh clean sheets, and a stack of fluffy towels.

      Happy Holidays!

  10. Reply


    November 25, 2015


  11. Reply


    November 18, 2015

    I found your page via Pinterest and I love all your ideas. I wanted to let you know I have used one of your pictures in a blog post of mine giving you full credit and a link back : https://www.homecynhome.com/2015/11/get-christmas-ready.html

  12. Reply

    Suzi Metcalfe

    December 17, 2014

    I’m too old to decorate and undecorate a tree every year, but the kid’s expect a tree at Grandma’s house! I’m going to do this!! I’ve already shown it to my DH and he agrees! I’ll be watching Michaels for a BIG frame sale! Thank you!

  13. Reply

    Mrs. Shockley

    November 23, 2014

    Wonderful ideas! Thank you!