Whether you prefer traditional green or daring multicolored tinsel, you’re bound to find your perfect holiday tree.
Writer: Kate Krug
1 of 28Photo: Jack Gardner; Stylists: Linda Hirst and Lynn Nesmith
Tree with a View
Silver beads and a snowflake-bedecked starfish top this tree in this Seaside, Florida, home. Gifts wrapped in pretty turquoise and pale blue paper surround the base.
2 of 28Photos: David Hillegas and Max Kim-Bee
Little Miss Sunshine
Splashes of gold and jolly blue whales make this tiny seaside sparkler both nautical and nice. Talk about a brilliant pick for beach houses. At just 2½ feet tall, this tinsel tree is minimal effort, big reward. Plus, there's no stand required: Just pop it into a sturdy vase and let it shine. Play up the tree's shimmer with bronze anchors and sunny-hued glass globes. The 7-inch topper has just the right amount of star power to headline this mini-but-mighty tree.
3 of 28Photos: David Hillegas and Max Kim-Bee
The Frosty Flamingo
This groovy palette of sea foam, pinks, and corals is full of retro-inspired fun.The white branches of flocked spruce trees like this one make ornaments in hot hues shine. Conceal the stand in a garden planter—we used a patterned, Chippendale-style container. Channel retro cheer with quirky 1940s saucer ornaments, and then balance the kitsch with translucent jade globes. Crown with a large bow. Let the party begin!
4 of 28Photo: David Hillegas and Max Kim-Bee
The Crafty Beachcomber
Strolls along the shore net all kinds of cool finds, including this clever take on decorating with beach treasures. The sturdy, deep, blue-green branches of Fraser Firs won't sag under the weight of oversize ornaments. Brush seashells (these are Irish deeps shells from a crafts store) with purple glitter glue, and then drill a small hole in the hinge end for hanging. Deepen the palette with bright globe ornaments, like these 3¼-inch lavender balls.
5 of 28Photo: Linny Morris
Reclaimed Christmas Tree
Singer Jack Johnson's holiday features a gift from the sea. He fashioned his family's driftwood tree from what he suspects to be pieces of a water-worn, turquoise deck. Ornaments on the tree are made out of everything from plastic found on the beach, old magazines, wire, and glass.
The main attraction of this California cottage during the holidays is the 9-foot-tall tree in front of one window. It’s covered in seahorse, starfish, and sailboat ornaments, and surrounded by gold-and-blue packages.
7 of 28Photo: Rick Lew; Stylist: Linda Hirst
A sunny spot in the dining room gives this tree an out-of-the-way but prominent place to shine. The family decorated it with simple silver and blue ornaments, nautical touches, and candy canes.
Position your tree in a spot where it can be admired indoors and out. If the weather isn’t too chilly, like here in West Palm Beach, Florida, you can take your holiday party outside and still maintain a festive atmosphere.
9 of 28Photo: Annie Schlechter
Use a traditional seaside motif, like these cute gold starfish ornaments, to bring a piece of the coast into your holiday decorations. A pine and magnolia garland creates a festive holiday look.
10 of 28Photo: David Hillegas
This powder blue-accented tree was inspired by the ocean’s blue sheen. The rope-like woven throw used as a tree skirt adds another coastal element, while homemade sand and shell jar ornaments and dried coral help disguise noticeable holes in the tree.
11 of 28Photo: Eric Roth
Add a little holiday cheer to a bedroom with a small potted tree. Leave it unembellished or hang small ornaments, and place it in a sand pail for a casual finishing touch.
12 of 28Photo: Dominique Vorillon
Frame a Walkway
For a traditional look, flank the sides of a dock or sidewalk with two trees surrounded by white clapboard. It’s also an instant frame for family holiday card pictures!
13 of 28Photo: Tria Giovan
Personalize your tree with your favorite beach collections. Use shells, plastic buoys, sea glass, or other coastal finds, and top it all off with a quirky mermaid fixture.
14 of 28Photo: Lisa Romerein
For rooms with large windows, look for a tall, slender tree to minimize obstructed views. Decorate simply with small clear or frosted bulbs.
15 of 28Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Christmas trees aren’t just for indoors! Bring some festive cheer outside by placing a tree near the pool. Decorate with a beach theme, using lots of blue accents and starfish string lights.
Tip: Add a few rustic lanterns to create a warm poolside glow.
16 of 28Photo: Roger Davies
Red, White, and Blue Christmas
This pool house gets special attention during the holidays, without sacrificing its nautical charm. Blue striped ribbon is strung throughout, while sailboats, navigation wheels, and lifeguard chairs take center stage on the Christmas tree.
17 of 28Photo: Jeff McNamara
A white tree, simply decorated with twinkle lights, becomes an extra light fixture during dark winter nights. Metallic bulbs sprinkled throughout the tree reflect light and give the room a festive glow.
18 of 28Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Bright and Bold
Embrace beach house fun this holiday season! These festive miniature trees get a tropical boost with cute fish ornaments and a bright tissue paper base.
19 of 28Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Put a Ribbon On It
Forgo the usual angel and put a ribbon at the top of your tree. Use contrasting colors, like lilac ribbon and turquoise ornaments, to create your own unique color scheme. Match place settings and presents to tie the room together.
20 of 28Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Center of Attention
Place your tree in a spot that will get a lot of traffic, like the walkway between the deck and the living area, so that it’s sure to be noticed by your visitors. For an extra hit of coastal style, use palm fronds to fill any holes.
21 of 28Photo: Jean Allsopp
For a laidback look, dress your tree with shimmery lights and subtle blue bulbs. Surrounded by two brown-and-white stripe chairs and coordinating brown paper-wrapped gifts, this tree lends the room effortless warmth.
Tip: Place extra bulbs in a bowl for an easy centerpiece.
22 of 28Photo: Rick Lew
Even if you don’t live in a snowy locale, you can imitate a white Christmas with a pretty white tree. Silver trinkets add sparkle to a stark base, while tropical ornaments lend fun pops of color.
23 of 28Photo: Jeff McNamara
A Collector’s Christmas
Show off your collections while still adding some holiday cheer to your home! Using a wire twig tree, turn small collectibles into festive ornaments with inexpensive fishing hooks or wire. Thin gold chains also look great when paired with strings of twinkle lights.
24 of 28Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Tradition with a Twist
There’s a reason why classic red is the old standby: Punches of red are the perfect way to add holiday cheer. Use a generous amount of red ribbon to hang wreaths and wrap gifts, and accent the red-and-green palette with silver ornaments in the shape of shells and starfish.
25 of 28Photo: Jean Allsopp
Place a tree on your front porch to greet holiday visitors. Strings of gold lights and large ornaments offer a warm welcome, while simple pinecone ornaments are a festive nod to the surrounding trees.
26 of 28Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Small But Mighty
A tabletop tree in a shell-filled pot adds a touch of seaside glamour without distracting from the views. Use metallic ornaments and silver tinsel to complement the surrounding decor.
27 of 28Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Nod to Nautical
Your home will look perfectly shipshape with this maritime-themed tree. Alternate strings of lights with ribbons of small nautical flags, and place other ship-related insignia around the tree, like lighthouses and sailboats.
28 of 28Photo: Jean Allsopp
Place your tree on a deck overlooking the ocean. Stray from tradition with a blue color scheme, and keep it interesting by using bulbs of varying shades.
Tip: Use a bright blue blanket or throw as a tree skirt to complement the tree’s palette.