Thrifty Christmas Tree Shopping and Decorating Guide | Julie Blanner

Learn all about our slim, sparse Christmas tree that can be easily embedded in any room. This pre-lit tree gives off a magical glow and makes decorating a breeze!

This is a sparse artificial Christmas tree look that you can enjoy for many years to come. Our skinny, sparse faux Christmas tree might just be my favorite Christmas tree ever!

It fits ours beautifully warm and cozy minimalist homeand I’ve got tips and tricks on how to style it with love, plus shopping links to TEN of the cutest sparse trees on the market right now.

Over the past few years, we have done a lot to make our living room cozy feel larger, including the removal of the built-in wet bar. It sat just behind the corner where this sparse Christmas tree now stands! See the whole before and after of our St. Louis home.

We have also removed a wall between the foyer and living room, but the footprint has not changed. It’s a small one Neutral living room which calls for a slim Christmas tree – and it works beautifully for our family!

Today’s post is dedicated to this charming sparse Christmas tree style, but you can read more about it Frame TV seen in these pictures together with ours Fireplace mantelour Built-in bookshelves and Ideas for furnishing bookshelvesand even our new Pottery Barn sofas here!

A sparse artificial Christmas tree decorated in pink.

A sparse artificial Christmas tree is perfect for small rooms, breakfast rooms, kitchens and even bedrooms!

It has an alpine inspired, mountain feel that I just love. It displays ornaments so beautifully because there is so much space between the layered branches.

Sparing Christmas tree

Of course, we all dream of big rooms with high ceilings, but that’s not always a reality, so I chose a large 7′ pre-lit sparse artificial Christmas tree that feels magical and is the perfect scale for the space.

It doesn’t overwhelm our living room, but adds so much whimsy and charm!

slender tree

This is no Charlie Brown skimpy Christmas tree, my friends. It feels special, magical and fits the style of our simple home perfectly.

This tree nestles perfectly in the corner between our living room and kitchen. It is seen from the moment you enter our home, and because it is a pre-lit tree, you can also catch a glimpse of it on the street.

A pre-lit tree is always magical with lights strung in every single branch – which is hard to achieve with a real tree.

a sparse Christmas tree with pink and gold ornaments

How to decorate a sparse artificial Christmas tree

There are an incredible variety of options for how you can decorate your frugal Christmas tree! You can be lavish, as shown in these living room pictures. This tree allows any ornament, twinkling lights and garland to really shine.

Or go as minimal with one Scandinavian Christmas appearance, with less embellishment and glitter.

We’ve approached our frugal Christmas tree three different ways over the past few years, as you can see below.

A sparse Christmas tree that lights up at night in a white living room.


The first year we were glamorous! We used sparkling ornaments, bejeweled garlands, silk ribbons and more.

The pearl and crystal garlands drape so effortlessly and have a cute little bell at the end. The glow of the lights from the pre-lit tree makes them twinkle.

sparse Christmas tree decorated in gold and pink ornaments

I also tied a few silk bows to the ends of branches throughout for a touch of effortless elegance. Don’t forget to come over and see what this Christmas tree looks like all lit up at night in ours Christmas trip at night!

a sparse Christmas tree tied with soft pink silk bows


We have also used this sparse Christmas tree in ours Christmas bedroom! When we used it in this room, I knew it would require very minimal decoration to feel warm and special.

So, with that in mind, we only added the crystal garlands from our sparkling tree years, waving them from branch to branch as casually as we could.

Wasn’t it just beautiful? As much as I love an over the top Christmas tree, this might be my favorite look of all!

Scandinavian inspired

Most recently, we used our sparse Christmas tree at our lake cottage. (See the whole before and after of our lake home here!)

I created a Scandinavian inspired Christmas, using tons of soft velvety blues, creams, raw wooden garlands and aged brass. It felt natural, soft and beautiful and reflected the view of the water through our living room windows.

The sparse Christmas tree felt equally at home in these surroundings because we value our calming views and the minimalist, Coastal modern style we have adopted here.

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A Scandinavian sparse Christmas tree decorated very simply.


  • Let the simplicity of wood shine! Do not overload it with ornaments to allow the beauty of these trees to be showcased.
  • Looking forward to one minimalist christmas? This is the right tree for you!
  • Looking to accent your sparse tree with some holiday garland? Read more about Pine garlands and Cedar garlands here.

A white living room dressed for a Scandinavian Christmas with a simple Scandinavian tree.

Frequently asked questions

What are the sparse Christmas trees called?

These trees are referred to by a number of different names. Some people call them an alpine tree, some call it a slender tree or a slender tree. Our favorite just refers to it as a thrifty Christmas tree!

How do you light a sparse Christmas tree?

First, add the bottom layer of branches to the main trunk of the tree. Then wrap each branch starting at the base and working your way around each branch, from the center of the tree to the tip of each branch and then back to the inside.

Repeat this process from the center to the tip of each branch all the way up. It will look like your tree is lit from within – giving it a truly magical glow!

Sparing Christmas tree sources

rattan bar cart with blue and white art above

For even more Serena and Lily dupes and updated finds, stay tuned to our Amazon Storefront and LTK!

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lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner, who decorates a sparse Christmas tree in her living room

Let the season begin! How are you decorating for the holidays this year?

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