Whether you are looking for a small Christmas tree idea as a festive addition to your main Christmas tree moment, or need to go small for practical reasons, a mini Christmas tree can score highly on the festive style chart
Small Christmas trees have lots going for them, growing as a Christmas tree trend in recent years: a small Christmas tree can allow you to take your main Christmas tree ideas into another room, adding festive cheer and welcome to your hallway for instance; allow you to try an alternative look… mini-size, or even create your own winter forest leading to your front door.
When it comes to small potted trees, it’s important to remember they are a living thing. ‘Our tiny trees are the smaller (but just as mighty) version of a regular real Christmas tree. So, treat them the same as you would your normal potted tree,’ says Jo Reason, Brand and Range Director at Bloom & Wild. ‘Find a light spot and try to keep it away from radiators and drafts as these will dry out your tree and make its needles drop.’
Of course, just like those super-sized relatives, you aren’t limited to a real small Christmas tree; there are plenty of smaller versions of the best artificial Christmas tree options available too.
Small Christmas tree ideas
'For a smaller tree, also scale down on the decorations to avoid overwhelming the tree,’ says Charlie Murray, Partner & Seasonal Buyer at John Lewis.
But, as our ideas show there are plenty of other ways to decorate a Christmas tree, whatever its size.
‘Once all your decorations (and - of course - the topper) are on, a tiny tree is the perfect way to bring some festive magic and that “wow!” to a little space or corner,’ says Jo Reason at Bloom & Wild.
Try these ideas for small Christmas trees…
1. Think about the pot
With a small tree, the pot or container is important – there’s less ‘tree’ to droop down and cover the trunk. The pot or container will also elevate the height of a small tree. ‘Ideally, follow a one-third-two-thirds rule, with the pot about one-third the height of the tree. This will help your small tree look balanced,’ says Heather Young, Editor in Chief, Ideal Home.
If you want to give your tree a white-Christmas look, then try a zinc bucket, then just add a few hero baubles in white and a string of battery-operated LED fairy lights.
2. Go rustic with a real mini
There are so many real mini Christmas trees available from Bloom and Wild and even M&S that are delivered straight to your door. These small Christmas trees don’t need many decorations to make them look great. A string of LED fairy lights and a few paper baubles can be all you need, along with a hessian wrap around the tree’s pot. Do stand your tree on a lipped plate or tray, or make sure it’s double-potted if its original flowerpot has holes to avoid any flooding when watering.
‘Trees are like flowers – they need to drink too! So, make sure your tree’s soil always feels damp (never waterlogged),’ says Jo Reason at Bloom & Wild. ‘We recommend checking it every couple of days. Touch the soil with your fingertips. If the top few inches feel dry, your tree is probably a bit thirsty.’
3. Create a welcoming moment in your hallway
While your hallway might not be big enough for a full-height tree, often there’s space to pop a small tree in your Christmas hallway decorating ideas, usually next to a bench or console table. If you’ve lots of visual festive interest, then keep it clean with just fairy lights. You could also source mini baubles to match those used to decorate any stair garland.
‘For a smaller tree also scale down on the decorations to avoid overwhelm,’ says Charlie Murray, Partner & Seasonal Buyer at John Lewis. ‘Lights should still be added to create a focal point and add dimension – micro LED line lights are perfect.’
4. Have some fun
Small trees allow you to try something new, something perhaps more whimsical or quirky than you might go for on your usual full-size Christmas tree. Pick a theme or motif and go for it.
‘As well as baubles and string lights, our tiny trees include tiny garlands or knitted decorations,’ says Jo Reason, Brand and Range Director at Bloom & Wild. ‘You can add anything you like though! Why not try ribbons? Or you could oven-dry orange slices and wire them on.’
5. Try a naked tree
In a busy room scheme, such as a guest bedroom dressed with lovely Christmasey bed linen, ready for guests, try adding a small potted real Christmas tree to the bedside table. While the temptation might be to add decorations, keeping it simple can help visually balance the room while providing a natural accent colour.
‘If you have guests staying each year, bringing your potted tree in from outside for their room can be a lovely touch – just check for spiders first,’ says Ideal Home’s Heather Young.
6. Dress a kitchen corner
While having a full-sized tree in your kitchen might be out of the question, a smaller one tucked on the worktop in a corner, gives you the chance to be creative with your kitchen Christmas styling. Add a few LED candles (great as can be left “lit”), some paper chains and even a few mini-wrapped presents. Choose colours from your main tree to help your Christmas look flow from one room to the next.
‘Small Osby stars placed around the Christmas tree are another great styling option, bringing a soft, cosy glow to your décor,’ says Lucy Kirk, Creative and Photography Manager, Lucy Kirk at Lights4fun.
7. Arrange a mini tree forest
The beauty of small Christmas tree ideas is that anything does go. Start (or add to a collection) of ceramic, glass or paper trees and display along a sideboard, using a simple backdrop to add to the Scandi feel. Look for unusual finishes, different textures and even ones that can hold a tealight for a magical winter-wonderland glow.
‘I love that you can add to such a collection each year,’ says Rebecca Knight, Deputy Digital Editor at Ideal Home. ‘Think about how you cluster your small trees by height, with tall ones at either end of your display for a more symmetrical look, or a taller one in the centre.’
8. Put your small tree to good use
Try a twig tree that can be used to display Christmas cards – solving that Christmas-round problem. Start with a weighty ceramic or stone vase (you don’t want the twigs causing any vessel to topple over), then add branches foraged from your garden, Use mini pegs (available from HobbyCraft) to clip on cards as and when they arrive.
This is a great idea for a console or sideboard – you could also use as a homemade Advent calendar, clipping on treat envelopes in place of cards.
9. Make your own
Save any large offcuts from the base of your Christmas tree, or buy a few spruce or pine branches from your local florist. Use to create a small Christmas tree in a large vase – ideal for next to a hearth or in a corner of your hallway. Again, make sure the vase is heavy enough to avoid your arrangement toppling over if anyone touches it.
Hang just a few lightweight decorations from its branches – think like a stylist, odd numbers always look best.
10. Boost a small tree’s height
Make more of a small tree by standing on a chair, console table or bench. This will not only make a small tree look bigger than it is but also provide space to style around and under it. Choose a basket that complements your existing scheme (and one that can be utilised for storage once your potted tree has been placed outside post-Christmas).
Need to give your small tree extra height? Don’t forget a topper – just choose something that’s not heavy as the tops of mini real trees can be flimsy.
How can I make a small tree look good?
‘A small tree would look good with a really full dressing of mixed decorations to avoid it feeling mean or lean,’ says Ali Attenborough, stylist.
‘Elevate smaller trees with a selection of bright, sparkling lights woven in amongst the branches,’ says Lucy Kirk, Creative and Photography Manager at Lights4fun. ‘Smaller Christmas trees look best styled at height, so we’d recommended placing upon side tables, windowsills and mantelpieces.’
What else can I use other than baubles on a small tree?
‘There are many alternatives to baubles,’ says Charlie. ‘What about berries or pinecones to keep it looking festive?’
‘Using bows of blue ribbon is a simple yet effective way to decorate a small Christmas tree. Velvet ribbon will bring a touch of luxury or for something a little softer, bows of satin are a perfect alternative to baubles,’ says Lucy.
‘Yes,’ agrees Ali. 'On a small tree, I love to use ribbon swags over its branches,’ says Ali Attenborough, stylist.
Go ahead, and treat yourself to an extra very merry mini Christmas tree this year.
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Jennifer Morgan is an award-winning editor, writer and stylist, with over 25 years’ experience writing, styling and editing home interest magazines. Jennifer was the deputy editor of Ideal Home from 2008-2010, before launching Ideal Home’s sister title, Style at Home in 2010. Jennifer went on to launch several craft magazines and websites, before going freelance in 2016, with a client list that includes John Lewis, Dunlem and Nordic House. Today, she writes for Ideal Home, Real Homes, Waitrose, Woman & Home, Sainsbury’s Magazine and Homes & Gardens. But it was during lockdown that Jennifer realised her dream of publishing her own magazine – Simply Scandi.
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