Hi Gabrielle. I’m trying to find an alternative to our fire-hazard cut Christmas tree this year. Artificial trees don’t appeal to my taste; I really prefer living breathing things over synthetics. I’ve seen companies online that sell living, potted Christmas trees, but they’re not very affordable. Has Design Mom seen any other cool house plants that might work as a Christmas tree? Thanks for considering the question and for keeping up such a great site! — Mary

Images by Martha Stewart

Great question, Mary. I love the idea of real potted trees for Christmas trees! Have you seen the Anthropologie windows this year? At ours, the displays are full of potted Christmas trees with the pots wrapped in burlap. They look wonderful. I know big potted trees can be expensive, but I would recommend getting a more affordable medium size one (maybe in the 3.5-4 foot range) at your local nursery and displaying it on a low table. A medium size tree on a two foot table brings it to normal tree height and will look great. And then you can plant it in the spring!

My mom used to do something similar with our cut trees when I was a kid and I still copy her. Christmas trees on a raised surface (even cinder blocks covered in a piece of fabric or a tablecloth would work) make for more display space underneath the tree (for trains or gifts or whatever you like) and keep the branches out of reach of toddlers. They’re also smart in homes or apartments where space is an issue. In Martha Stewart’s Christmas Tree Gallery, you can see lots of examples of medium-size trees on raised surfaces — tons of inspiration!

What about you, Dear Readers? Have you ever used a live potted tree for Christmas? Any bargain sources you can share?

P.S. — Come back in a bit and I’ll have our first sibling gift DIY posted for 2010. It’s such a cool project! Good for grown-ups or kids.