Is it ok not to have a Christmas tree?

Do you need a tree in your home to enjoy the Christmas spirit? What if you have children– will they miss out on the fun?


My childhood memories of Christmas are of a real pine tree. I remember the scent, the needles on the carpet, and the tips that would circulate as to how to keep it looking its best until the 25th. The trek to purchase the tree from a special farm marked the start of the season. I remember one year cutting down a little tree from the side of the road and quickly putting it in the back of the car to take it home. You could never get away with this kind of thing nowadays!

As for the decorations, we had only a small collection of special trinkets. There was a box of baubles that were made of real glass. I had to handle them carefully so they wouldn’t break into tiny shards. There was also a set of candle holders that clipped onto the actual branches of the tree. It wasn’t very safety conscious, but it sure was authentic!

I didn’t see many real Christmas trees this year. I saw instead a lot of plastic trees made in China with glittery tinsel in many colours but the traditional red. I also saw plastic plates, paper napkins and artificial LED candles decorating festive tables: a far cry from the dinner parties I remember my parents having as a child.

We were not planning to have a tree inside this year. We were going to decorate a fruit tree in our garden instead. That was until it was decided that Christmas would be at our place this year, and someone lent us a tree. We dutifully put up the tree and strung it with lights. On Christmas Day however, I relished the opportunity to get out our best China, glassware and linen and have a grown-up meal, a rare treat when you have children.

So can you have Christmas without the tree? To be honest, our children got just as excited by stringing fairy lights around the garden and putting a wreath on our front door as they did with decorating the tree. They really enjoyed the day, but I think a big part of the enjoyment was having all their relatives gathered in our home, not so much unwrapping all those presents.

If you don’t want to, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to go without a tree. If you really don’t have room for a tree, you could still hang a wreath made of a sprig of real pine. Then you could enjoy the scent of pine in your home without cutting down a tree. The children will still enjoy the day.

How about you? What did you do this year?


2 thoughts on “Is it ok not to have a Christmas tree?

  1. I agree Zoe. Think of the extra space created in your home by not having a Christmas tree or having it outdoors. Perhaps the outdoor Christmas tree concept would work well in the Southern Hemisphere. Alternatively, a wreath could be placed on the wall and the presents located under it at whichever time is deemed appropriate.

  2. You are right Zoe, for a lot of people Christmas is about families and friends getting together. Christmas trees, tinsel, baubles and lights make lasting memories for children.

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