How To Make An Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree

The Christmas period is an odd one, in that it involves dressing up parts, or indeed all of your house, inside and out.

And Christmas decorations are a once a year item. For the other 11 months you have to store those decorations.

They take up space.

In a household like ours, where you’re trying to follow a minimalist lifestyle, tubs, cases and boxes of use-once-a-year things are in the way most of the year.

Before Christmas last year we audited our decoration collection, only saving things that meant something to us. The kids may have made it, or the particular decoration might have been a gift (like a delicate glass bauble maybe), but the main criteria for us was reduce the plastic stuff. Tinsel and the like moved out of our collection. This also included our plastic Christmas tree.

“We’ll have a real tree,” exclaimed the Cash Hippy. And why not. The smell of fresh pine (because that’s the tree we chose) and the potential for the tree to last a very long time was all the enticement we needed.

But we killed it … in less than three months. Not intentionally.

Make A Tree?

“Could you make a tree out of stuff we already have?” asked the Cash Hippy.

I looked around. We have a lot of kindling.

Surely, the kindling could be fashioned into a tree shape (oh, the irony). So the kids and I searched on the Internet for home-made Christmas tree ideas, and came up with a plan. And when we had a free day, we made our tree.

Collect Your Materials

We determined a rough height of our tree (a blue tarp) and the kids gathered a heap of sticks about  20 mm in diameter, because that was easy for them to carry. They laid them on the tarp until it was at the length we were after.

Laying out the kindling
Laying out the kindling

Finding The Christmas Tree Shape

I found a couple of pieces of timber to use as straight edges, and placed them down so the kids could draw a line on each piece of wood as a guide of where to cut each piece.

Marking the cut lines
Marking the cut lines

The kids at this point were beginning to understand how the tree was forming. Then, while they played in the pool next to me, I cut along the lines of each piece of wood, and drilled a hole at the middle point.

I put the wood back on the tarp in order from shortest to longest and suddenly the kids got it.

The Christmas tree is taking shape
The Christmas tree is taking shape


It’s up to you if you want to do this next part, but I thought putting spacers in between each piece might make it easier to adjust the shape of the tree as needed.

I made them from a piece of scrap wood using a hole saw and didn’t sand them. You can leave this step out if you like.

Threading the Christmas tree
Threading the Christmas tree

We found some unused window weight cord in the shed and measured out a piece long enough to thread the bits on. Then I just sat back and waited for the kids to finish developing their fine motor skills.

How To Display Your New Christmas Tree

We made this tree to hang from above, which meant putting a discreet hook in the ceiling.

But you could easily use a steel rod instead of cord and make a base so it is a floor standing tree instead.

There is some weight in it so whatever you make, make it safe.


The completed Christmas tree
The completed Christmas tree

We are very happy with how it turned out.

I love how it ‘floats’ and turns ever so gently under the breeze from the ceiling fan.

And best of all, after Christmas, it can just go back on the kindling pile, ready for winter. You can of course decide to keep yours if you wish. However, part of this exercise was to create something that didn’t need to be put into storage for a year. And it was a great activity to do with the kids.

Just remember to have a crack. What’s the worst that could happen?

Mr Hack

Have you checked out our gift wrapping alternatives for Christmas?

Please scroll on down to the comments box and share your eco-friendly Christmas ideas.