Gather ‘Round the Christmas… Tree?

I think that there are a lot of options of what to substitute a tree with for your holiday season. Or your classic Festivus pole. Trees are such a hassle. Any live tree will leave its pieces all over your home and inside your gifts somehow. A fake one will probably break sooner than you’ll hope.

So what things are the tree good for? Well, it’s nice to put all the gifts there, lovingly displayed with holiday cheer for all to see. It’s super fun to decorate trees with ornaments, whether they’re of your favorite pop culture characters or heirloom gifts passed down through your family. But these non-denominational substitutions should serve all your holiday needs!

xmas xmas


A Wishing Well

Clear out all the furniture in your largest room good for parties and plop/install this right in the middle. All night, the pleasant sound of small coins dropping into shallow water will ring through your place. You’ll see your friends close their eyes and hope. You’ll hear them mutter under their breath, their most secret desires. You’ll know exactly what to get them next year. Bonus: you don’t need to get any presents for anyone! Just let them make a wish.


A Warm Fire

What better thing to gather around than a source of warmth and delicious smells. Be careful not to put your gifts too close to the fire! All of your guests will be happy to sit close to the flickering flames and sip some warm cider. You can also get some of those little packets of chemicals that change the fire color. Hypnotize them with the flames and they’ll never know that you didn’t do anything else for the party at all.


A Hostage

Not only is that guy taking up room in your basement, where holiday visitors may want to sleep, but involving him in your festivities may shut him up for once. Go ahead and take off that duct tape! Nobody will worry about the screaming over all the caroling. Plus, tis the season! May as well let him in on the holiday feast, gift unwrapping, discussing the last year’s memories, and playing games.


A Pile of Last Year’s Unwanted Gifts

Nothing says “stop getting me things with cats on it” like all of last year’s cat themed presents, tossed haphazardly into the center of your living room. Instead of having gifts under a tree, just give people these garbage things that you don’t want. Don’t bother wrapping them, so that the disappointment never leaves their face, not for even a moment. It doesn’t have to be all one theme or anything, so feel free to make it a colorful medley of terrible presents you’ve received.



Put all your gifts in a circle around yourself. This highlights YOU. And then it highlights how much people care for you, in terms of how many items they have physically given to you this holiday. This is how I used to open presents at my birthday as a kid. And let me tell you: it is super fulfilling. If you’re as materialistic as I am, anyway.


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