Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on television. I’ve watched this holiday special since I was a child and now get to share the Christmas special every year with my daughters.
My favorite part of the classic television special, now playing for the 50th season, is when he goes to get the Christmas tree and picks out the tree that no one wants because the little tree needs him, but no one else does.
It takes Linus to remind the rest of the gang and the viewers that maybe the tree isn’t all that bad really…
It’s not a bad little tree, really.
It just needs a little love.
That Linus guy is pretty smart. He gets some of the best lines in the special.
An Iconic Symbol – the Meaning of Christmas
Several years ago I discovered that a company was making a scrawny replica of Charlie’s tree that you could bring home to love for yourself, so I ordered for my daughters to teach them the meaning of Christmas. When the tree arrived they immediately set it up and wrapped it in a blue blanket. Each year since, the scrawny little tree is the one tree that still gets put up at our house.
The Charlie Brown tree has become an iconic symbol of the meaning of Christmas, a reminder to all of us that all we just need is a little love.
Since the replica artificial tree was introduced as an alternative Christmas tree, many, many people bringing home, to the office, or to the dorm their own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree to love. This year the artificial version is at the top of the Amazon Best Sellers in Christmas Trees and also tops the list for gift ideas.
How to Make a Scrawny Christmas Tree
In looking at our tree, I realized that you could easily construct your own tree using floral tape and artificial pine branches, which would be more substantial and better made than the store-bought version.
Another way to make a scrawny Christmas Tree is to make one from old tree or bush branches if you don’t mind the tree not looking exactly like Charlie Brown’s.
The main elements of a this classic holiday tree are the scrawny tree, Linus’s blue blanket and one red ornament.
To make your own version more festive than his (which doesn’t take much), hang a few additional ornaments or add some some light-weight lights.
Making a Charlie Brown Twig Tree
You can construct your own lovable scrawny twig tree using brown floral tape, wire and artificial pine branches—the materials used to make the commercially available ones.
- Materials for the tree – artificial pine branch, brown floral tape and wire
- Materials for the base – wood planks
- Additional Accessories – blanket or blue fleece and red ornament
- Look at examples of the cartoon twig tree. See how the branches are arranged.
- Gather up 9 to 10 artificial pine needle clusters.
- Take a long piece (18 to 24 inches) of ~ 18 gauge craft wire (or an old wire coat hanger) to use for the base.
- Working from the base to the top of the tree, hold (or tape) three of the artificial pine needle clusters into place around the base and begin wrapping the brown floral tape, totally covering the wires so the wire starts looking like a thin tree trunk.
- Add an additional artificial pine needle clusters as you continue to wrap the wire tree ‘trunk’ in brown floral tape. Use the different images images and product pictures to get an idea of how to arrange the clusters. (The branch patterns on the photos here are slightly different).
- Continue adding in pine needle clusters and wrapping as you go until all of the wires are covered in floral tape.
- If needed for stability wrap a second layer around the first one.
- Make a tree stand using thin boards like old fence boards. Cut two boards ~ 3 by 12 to 15 inches and nail or glue them together using industrial strength glue. Glue or nail extra stability ‘feet’ 1 by the width of the board to the top board so the stand will be stable.
- Drill a hole in the very center of both planks of the tree stand a width that the ‘trunk’ will fit into snugly.
- Attach the wire tree.
- Wrap up the base of the tree with a blue blanket, blue Linus Scarf or light blue piece of fleece fabric made into a blanket.
Accessorize Your Scrawny Twig Tree
To finish decorating your Charlie Brown tree you just need to add:
- A blue blanket or piece of blue fleece
- A red Christmas ornament
Make a Stylized Charlie Brown Tree
For a stylized Charlie Brown tree start with a scrawny, scraggly, bare branched Christmas tree like the one below, some twig sprays or some bare tree or bush branches that you can put into a pot or create a tree stand like the one used above. The stylized Charlie Brown tree is a great way of reusing or re-purposing materials into a tree.
The artificial Christmas Twig Tree already comes with a burlap base attached. For different tree base options, see the additional links in the “More Ideas” section below.
More Ideas to Make a Scrawny Twig Tree
For more ways of making your own scrawny Christmas tree, see how Kelly of MySimpleWalk came up with her idea to make a tree from simple items around the home and parts of a tree log. To see pictures of their prep work visit their blog for the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.
Instructions for Making Other Scrawny Tree
In case you need additional ideas or instructions for making your own Charlie Brown Tree, I found several other resources from Instructables and several crafty bloggers.
- Make a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
This instructable tutorial shows how to make a tree which still has some hope.
- Make a burlap sacked Charlie Brown Christmas tree
Donna from Funky Junk Interiors shows how she made a live burlap sacked seedling, which can double as a living tree.
- My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
Gail from My Repurposed Life shares her version of a scrawny tree using small boards from the backyard to create a stand much like the one in the TV special.
- Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Ornament
See how Creative Carmella makes an adorable DIY twig tree inside of an Ornament.
Our Pinterest Board for DIY Creative, Crafty Christmas Trees
The Charlie Brown Tree is just one of many different ideas we have collected in the Pinterest board just for alternative holiday trees.
DIY Project History
This DIY tree tutorial was originally written and featured as part of the Bring a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Home lens on Squidoo, which has a temporary home on HubPages.