This time of year, people around the world are decorating trees for the holiday. Almost every culture on Earth has a mid-winter festival of lights dating back hundreds of years to the time when candles were used to ward off evil spirits, and encourage the sun to return to its rightful place of prominence.
Here are a few creative interpretations of the typical Christmas tree, all made from reused and/or recycled materials. Definitely not the typical artificial Christmas trees you find at the big box store!
Domison, a furniture store in Montreal, Canada features an “Ice Tree” made from 300 water bottles diverted from the recycling bin. Based on a concept from design firm Paprika, the bottles are hung from the ceiling and lit by spotlights to make them glisten and shimmer like an ice sculpture. The effect is mesmerizing.
Another idea for a tree made of recycled materials is the work of artist Tom Deininger. Featured in the Chelsea Market area of New York City in 2010, this “tree” is made from discarded CDs and casette tapes. When lit, all those plastic bits twinkle in the most engaging fashion. Deininger even used the brown recording tape pulled from inside the cassettes to create an earth-like effect around the base of his creation.
Anthony Schmitt of Santa Monica, California has been building his shopping cart tree every year since 2001. He says shoppping carts symbolize “both generosity and abundance, as well as acknowledging those less fortunate where their whole world may be housed in a cart. We see shopping carts everyday and take them for granted. Individually the beauty of an everyday object may become invisible, but in quantity you can’t miss it.”
In 2011, artist Jolanta Šmidtienė created this glowing Christmas tree made from 40,000 recycled plastic bottles for the small town of Kaunas, Lithuania. When lit from within, it seems to fit perfectly with the holiday spirit. It is both festive and eco-friendly.
Perhaps one or more of these whimsical designs will inspire you to create a holiday symbol that uses non-traditional materials in unexpected ways this year.