Illustration for article titled Festive Trees Dont Only Have to Be for Christmas

Photo: Rustle (Shutterstock)

Usually, by the time we’re wrapping up the holidays, I am beyond ready for my decorations to be banished back to the basement. I love to make my home festive, and I love to be garland-free again when the new year begins. But this year, I found myself hesitating to take down our tree. The winter that loomed ahead felt colder and darker than most, and the glow of Christmas lights provided a coziness I was craving more than usual. However, although my tree isn’t exactly huge, it’s big enough to be in the way of normal life and not a thing I want around all year long. A compromise, I decided, was in order.

So I purchased this little three-foot-tall guy for less than $30, plus a short strand of red lights. (I got a strand of 35 mini-lights, but it’s a bit skimpy; I’d recommend 50 for a tree this size.) Then I ordered a couple of packages of heart ornaments (like these), and I decorated myself a Valentine’s tree:

Illustration for article titled Festive Trees Dont Only Have to Be for Christmas

Photo: Meghan Moravcik Walbert

The biggest expense, obviously, was the tree. But now that I have it, I can repurpose it for any holiday very cheaply with a strand of lights, plus a trip to the dollar store for a decorative seasonal garland or little crafts the kids can color and hang.

To extend the festivities (i.e., give the kids something to do for an afternoon), you could also make seasonal salt dough ornaments at home to add to the tree—all you really need is flour, salt, water, and cookie cutters in the shapes of hearts, shamrocks, or bunnies, depending on the holiday you’re celebrating. (If you want to go all out on these, kids can also decorate the ornaments with paint, glitter, or food coloring—and don’t forget to punch a hole in them with a straw or toothpick before they bake so you can hang them with ribbon or ornament hooks when they’re done).

I think the key to enjoying a non-Christmas tree is to not have it in a central spot of your living space. I want to enjoy the glow of the lights without having Valentine’s Day in my face every day for a month. We put our Baby Holiday Tree on a small table on our enclosed sunporch, which we can see through a window in our living room.

If we ever had guests over, this sweet little tree would be ready to greet them.

If we ever had guests over, this sweet little tree would be ready to greet them.
Photo: Meghan Moravcik Walbert

It’s a little holiday spirit in the background, rather than front and center. In your home, that might mean putting it on a buffet table in the dining room, in a finished basement, or in a corner of a playroom—wherever is a bit off your usual beaten path.

The best part about a tree this size is that the very second I get tired of it (and I will), I can pick it up, carry it to my basement storage, and be done with it until a holiday spirit strikes again.