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How to Create a Beautiful Travel Themed Christmas Tree

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Need some festive ideas for decorating your Christmas tree this year?

Celebrate your love of travel with a travel themed Christmas tree!

Keep reading for my favorite Christmas tree themes for travel lovers.

Add travel destination ornaments

Start off with ornaments from travel destinations.

Ornaments from a specific place will be the most unique and special to you, as you can customize based on your favorite destination or use as a travel journal of sorts to show off all the places you’ve been to.

If you travel to a specific place regularly, consider designing your Christmas tree theme after that destination.

For example, a Paris tree might have lots of silver and pink, Eiffel Tower ornaments, a fleur-de-lis topper, and romantic ribbon or beads.

A New England themed Christmas tree might have faux blueberry or cranberry beads and ornaments with lobsters, lighthouses, bears, moose, fishermen, and Boston sports on them.

Or if you like to travel to new places each year, start a collection of ornaments from places you travel to.

This is what I do! I’ve gotten all kinds of baubles from my travels, like a gorgeous New Orleans themed Santa Clause and a beaded ornament from Mexico.

If you don’t find any while you search for souvenirs during your travels, browse the airport gift shops.

You’re bound to find something, like the fun Seattle ornament I picked up at the airport in 2022.

Here are a few options to get you started.

Use photos

If you have so many travel photos that you don’t know what to do with, why not decorate your tree with them?

Picture frame ornaments can be found at low cost, so the tricky part will likely only be finding a site or store that can print your photos small enough to fit in each frame.

Check out my post about photo gifts for tips on my favorite places to get my travel photos printed.

When I got my first Christmas tree, I also picked up a few picture frame ornaments at Michael’s Craft Store.

I also got a frame ornament with the current year and added a picture from one of my trips.

Another option is to print your photos using an Instax mini photo printer and placing the photos on the tree branches.

Alternatively, you could thread some embroidery floss through the top or find clamps that you can add an ornament hook to and then clamp the photo.

Add general travel ornaments

If your tree isn’t filled up after adding photos and destination-specific ornaments, fill in the empty spaces with some general travel themed Christmas ornaments.

Think airplanes, trains, maps, globes, suitcases, etc.

It’s rather easy to find these types of ornaments. I got a bunch from Target when I first starting putting up my ownChristmas tree, as well as a few from a Christmas market in Paris, France.

If you don’t have travels planned between now and Christmas, there are plenty of local stores and online shops where you can get fun travel themed ornaments.

Amazon, Target, and Macy’s all have a treasure trove of travel themed Christmas ornaments. You can find them in store or on their websites.

Another spot to check for ornaments are local flea, craft markets, and Etsy.

Lastly, you can always create your own ornaments, whether they be hand painted or assembled from a kit.

Use unique tree trimmings

It seems everyone has a preference when it comes to trimmings for their Christmas tree.

I don’t use garland, tinsel, beads, or ribbon on my tree. Since my tree is not too big, I think trimmings would overpower all the beautiful travel themed ornaments hanging on the tree.

For those of you who think trimmings are a must, a travel themed ribbon could be a lot of fun!

Check your local craft or fabric store, such as Joann or M&J Trimming, for fun ribbon, like a map print, palm trees, vintage Paris, etc.

If your ornaments have a cohesive color palette, you could use garland, ribbon, or beads in a color within that palette, as well.

Add a unique tree topper

Sure, you could just get a plain star or angel to put on the top of your tree.

Or you could be super extra and get a Christmas tree topper that matches your Christmas tree theme more closely!

Perhaps a Disney character as an angel for a Disney parks themed tree, or a plane for a general travel themed tree. The opportunities are nearly endless!

Tree skirts and collars

Whether your tree is real or fake, a Christmas tree skirt or collar is great for hiding ugly Christmas tree stands. It’s also a fun way to tie together a Christmas tree theme.

Travel themed Christmas tree skirts or collars aren’t super easy to come by.

If you’re crafty, you could put something together with a vinyl iron-on or sticker. Another option is to peruse Etsy for shop that does custom orders.

At the end of the day, though, it might be best to get a neutral tree skirt to let the decorated tree shine.

For example, I use a tan faux fur tree skirt with my travel Christmas tree. It’s super luxe and the faux fur adds to the wintry and festive aesthetic.

Extend the theme with matching home decor

Once you get your Christmas tree all set, you’ll probably want to spread the Christmas cheer elsewhere in your home!

Perhaps a wreath for your front door, scented candles, and a few holiday knick-knacks?

Depending on your theme, you could also decorate with items that aren’t explicitly Christmas decorations.

For example, if you have a Parisian themed Christmas tree, you can extend the theme to the rest of your home with toile curtains, pillows with french sayings, perhaps an Arc du Triomphe replica. You get the idea!

Tips for fake Christmas trees

Given the amount of traveling I do between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I just can’t keep up with maintaining a real tree.

For this reason, I didn’t have a Christmas tree of my own until a few years ago.

I’m with ya…I loathe fake Christmas trees. But I bet a lot of you fellow travel lovers are in the same boat, so here are some tips on how to select and improve a fake Christmas tree.

How to improve a fake Christmas tree

First off, select a Christmas tree that is as full as your home can fit. This will help hide the ugly metal branches.

Once you get it set up, take the time to fluff the branches to help fill in empty spaces. Spread the mini branches in a star-like pattern, with branches spread to the left, right, top, and bottom.

To further fill in the empty spaces, there are a few good options for hiding the fake branches and trunk.

One option is to wrap an evergreen garland around the trunk to hide the metal or plastic.

Another idea to disguise a sparse fake tree is to twist a wide ribbon around the tree, stuffing it into the layers as you go, rather than letting the ribbon sit on the outside of the tree.

Lastly, be sure to add lots of trimmings and ornaments. If need be, add colored bulb ornaments that match your travel themed Christmas tree.

To make up for the lack of natural evergreen scent, get a tube of Scentsicles.

Scentsicles are Christmas tree scented sticks that can be hung on fake trees, like an ornament. I hide the Scentsicles toward the trunk of the tree so they can’t be seen.

The scent can be overpowering at first, so if you don’t like strong scents, you could use a evergreen-scented candle when you’re at home instead.

Either option might seem like an extra cost, but in my opinion it really helps sell the idea of a fake tree and adds a festive vibe!

Lastly, if you travel during the Christmas season and prefer to stick to a small tree, consider adding fairy lights instead of regular ones, as they are sized better for tabletop trees. It looks so much better!

How will you decorate your Christmas tree this year?

I hope you found some magical tips for your travel themed Christmas tree this year.

Once you’ve decked out your tree, it’s time to shop online for gifts to put under it!

Check out my posts with ideas on stocking stuffers for travelersChristmas gifts for travelersgifts for kids who like to travel, and travel tech gifts.

About the author

Photo of travel blogger Meg Frost, of Frost + Sun, in Havana, Cuba.
Photo by Meg Frost, all rights reserved.

Meg Frost is a Boston-based travel blogger that helps people embrace technology to make vacation planning and traveling wicked easy, affordable, and fun.

She holds an M.A. in Journalism from Northeastern University and B.S. in Communication & American Studies from University of Miami.

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This post was originally published November 3, 2017. It was last updated October 27, 2023.

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