30+ Sophisticated Christmas Tree Themes to Try This Year


Decorating your Christmas tree each year brings many joys along with it—annual rituals, nostalgia, holiday cheer—but sometimes, year after year, it can start to feel a little, well, traditional. Why not shake things up and go bold this year with a Christmas tree theme?

It’s certainly no secret that we dig a dose of curation here at ELLE DECOR (see our annual “Glamour,” “Cities,” and “Art,” issues, to name a few examples!), and the same curation—we humbly propose—can be liberally applied to those picture-perfect pines. A themed tree can help unify your Tannenbaum with the rest of your home’s decor (think flocked branches and gleaming groupings of complementary baubles) or a place where you can let your creativity run wild. Party-planning guru Bronson van Wyck recommends going the alternative route, whether you choose an outré motif (like lobsters or Noah’s ark!) or simply veer off the traditional holiday decor path. “Don’t feel limited to red, green, or white when it comes to Christmas lights—there are seven colors in the rainbow. Use deep blues, ambers, and golds to help give the tree a unique glow,” he tells us. You don’t even have to give up your treasured holiday ornaments, either. “I love to hang the ornaments and unwrap each with the excitement of seeing an old friend,” Rebecca Gardner of Houses & Parties says. For her tree, she goes ham with her collection of vintage ornaments, laying on even more throwback charm with glass beads and tinsel. For 34 designer-approved Christmas tree–theme ideas, read on. But, remember as Gardner wisely puts forth, decorating is “a long process best fueled by strong eggnog and Bing Crosby.”


Under the Sea-Themed Tree

We love all the critters of the crèche (donkeys! sheep!), but why not shine a light on the other creatures in the animal kingdom? We adore this aquatic creation, courtesy of Mary Patton of the Houston-based firm Mary Patton Design. “I was very inspired by my new hobby— aquariums,” she tells us. “I chose a silver tinsel tree and stuck with a blush and turquoise color palette.” Still can’t give up those treasured holiday motifs? Mix ’em in, like Patton did! “Even though this is a theme tree, I’ve sprinkled in a few turquoise and pink Santas and other family ornaments to keep it fun,” she says.
This ruby-red tree, courtesy of the one and only Bronson van Wyck, also looks under the sea…and into the art history books. The party planner paid homage to Salvador Dalí in this surreal scheme by covering the crimson branches with red and white lobsters and plenty of glittering extras. With the striped big top–themed enclosure, this Christmas tree is ready for the spotlight.
The holidays are about treasured traditions, so why not celebrate your heritage with your Christmas tree theme? Here Kristina Phillips of Kristina Phillips Interior Design celebrates her Swedish background by devoting her tree to tomte, a gnomelike creature who keeps a watch over farm animals and children. Ornaments made from timber, straw, and felt add to the cozy Scandi vibes.
German-American lore has it that if you hide a pickle in a Christmas tree, its lucky discoverer will have good luck for the rest of the year. John Derian made it easy for visitors by festooning this mini tree entirely in ornaments of the dill variety. Talk about in-spear-ation!

Flower Power Christmas Tree

Or, if you’re not a fan of pickles, go for fragrant flowers—real and faux. ELLE DECOR A-List designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard swears by engulfing his tree in bunches of bountiful blooms, like roses, hydrangeas, orchids, and even grapes. “Pampas grass stems can be very romantic and create an ethereal tree experience, whilst dried hydrangeas give body and color blocking to the trees,” he adds. You can feel free to use high-quality silk flowers and tuck in big blooms here and there (Bullard recommends amaryllis). For added longevity, he suggests affixing a water vial to the end of each live nosegay.

Vintage Chic Christmas Tree

Rebecca Gardner, in line with her zany entertaining brand Houses & Parties, embraces vintage nostalgia in her Christmas tree theme with charming gnomelike creatures, toadstool ornaments, glass beads, and tinsel. “One of my favorites is a giant blown-glass moon. He’s magic,” she tells us. Need a hand? Shop her selection of adorable ornaments (we’re obsessed with the cocktail-shrimp one!) online.

Feathered Christmas Tree

After years of use, you’d be forgiven if your tinsel looks a little tired. Why not look to Mother Nature to create holiday’s best-dressed tree? Here Jeweled Interiors’ Jewel Marlowe tucked ostrich plumes and dried origami-like palm leaves into her tree, creating a theme that is equal parts elegant and effortless.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that candy canes are the candy of Christmas—so why not bring that theme to your tree, like Jennifer Perkins did here? The pink, red, and white color scheme goes perfectly with green and will definitely liven up your living room.

The Organic Minimalist Tree

You don’t always have to cover your entire tree in ornaments and decorations. For a clean, minimal look, adorn your tree sparsely, using pine cones and other ornaments in a similar color family.

The Tree for Movie Buffs

If you or the film lover in your life wants to capture that movie-theater vibe in your own home, then Melanie of Southern Crush at Home has come up with the perfect tree for you. Bonus: That ingenious DIY popcorn topper is actually made of white hydrangeas!
Calling everyone with a sweet tooth—this is the themed tree for you. Jennifer Houghton of Turtle Creek Lane layered this tree in ornaments shaped like hard candies, sweet desserts, and adorable little gingerbread men.
Michelle of Weekend Craft decorated her farmhouse-style tree in a large buffalo-check ribbon, tying it up at the end for the ideal tree topper. Matching ornaments wrapped in black-and-white buffalo-check fabric, along with pine cones and little owls, complete this tree’s theme.
Sugar & Cloth celebrated Christmas in the studio by embellishing a frosted tree in giant fluffy pom-poms. It goes quite well with the colorful velvet seats, don’t you think?

The All-White with Red Accents Tree

You can go in a lot of different directions when decorating an all-white tree. Here, red ornaments and decor cover the tree for a sleek and stylish look.
Lia Griffith celebrated a Technicolor holiday with this theatrically themed tree. A snowy spruce flocked tree is adorned with handmade decor and large marquee letters.

The Pretty Poinsettia Tree

Wintry poinsettias cascade down this bright tree by Jen Woodhouse. Delicate white garlands, gold and silver ornaments, and a white star on top tie this tree design together.

The Scandinavian-Inspired Tree

If you’re sold on the sleekness of Scandinavian design, we suggest you take a look at this tree by Lia Griffith. Gold-colored baubles are surrounded by paper house ornaments, wooden stars, and felt garlands for the ultimate Scandi Christmas.

The Green-and-Blue Tree

Designer Janie Molster stuck with a statement-making palette of bright blue and green for her themed tree, conjuring springtime vibes with a festive appeal.

The Buffalo-Check Tree

A heavy flocking topped with oversize poinsettias and buffalo-check bows and ornaments come together for a classically festive themed tree by Jen Woodhouse.
Bring summer blossoms into the winter months with a seasonally unique floral-themed tree. Here, Delia Creates arranged her arboreal masterpiece with giant faux magnolias, glass bulbs, and gold wire.
As if Sugar Bee Crafts’ turquoise tree wasn’t enough to break the holiday norms, she covered the tree in wintry marquee signs for an extra-theatrical look.

The Glamorous Christmas Tree

This tree makes the case for a full-glam holiday scheme. Kara’s Party Ideas used photo frames, bows, and even gold-dipped feathers to achieve an opulent appeal.

The Red-and-White Tree

Stick to bichromatics this holiday with a red-and-white tree, like this version crafted by Making Home Base. Giant snowflakes and star ornaments are balanced by equally lavish bowls.
There’s no better place to go during the holidays than the North Pole, and this snow-dusted tree—complete with polar bears—is a quirky winter wonderland and a maximalist dream.
Make a playful statement this holiday by opting for a vibrant neon tree. This decadent pink pairs beautifully with holiday golds, giving off a festive but funky feel.
Whether you spend your holidays by the shore or crave a little piece of summer, this seaside-themed tree is relaxing.
Just because your home lacks square footage doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a Christmas tree. This tree is small but mighty, with chic matching ornaments and simple candles that are festive without overwhelming the small frame.
This tree is proof that pastels can shine across all seasons. The pale pinks, dusty blues, and bright whites combine to create a warm and playful holiday centerpiece.
Create a warm holiday glow in your home with this stunning golden tree. The white branches are topped with an assortment of gold ornaments, boasting a magically glitzy and festive design.
Nothing screams Christmas like a snow-dusted pine. The frosted branches, bright white ornaments, and dusted pine cones come together to bring a winter wonderland into your living room.
If you’re sick of the traditional Christmas red and green, look for colors that complement the room your tree sits in. A baby blue, for example, enhances this bright living space, while the textures and patterns of the decor still feel festive.
This black-and-white ombré tree makes the case for a perfectly monochromatic Christmas. Great for the minimalist or nonconformist, this tree gives off ultra-chic rule-breaker vibes.
Bring your love for sports into your holiday decor without sacrificing style or chicness. This tree, covered in basketball and football ornaments, has a sporty edge with a traditional foundation.
Red, white, and blue decor isn’t limited to the Fourth of July. Scatter American flags along with red and silver ornaments around your tree for a look that is festively patriotic.

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