If there’s one thing I adore more than traveling, it’s the Christmas season. It’s like I was an elf in a past life or maybe even one of those moody reindeer from Rudolph’s song. My body is practically 90% candy cane once the holidays arrive. So, it should come as no surprise that I go all out when it comes to dressing up my Christmas tree. In the past, I’ve done Star Wars, superheroes, and even Game of Thrones. But this year, in honor of 2020 and its unprecedented stationary nature, my tree is all about travel!
In this post, I’ll share with you how I created my dream travel-themed Christmas tree on a shoestring budget, repurposing my travel mementos into ornaments. I’ll also provide you with plenty of other ideas if you’re looking to create your own unique travel-themed tree. Are you as excited as I am? Let’s get started!
A Look at My Travel-Themed Christmas Tree
While an aesthetically pleasing tree is nice, I believe the best Christmas trees are the ones that are a hodgepodge of personal memories, focusing on sentimentality rather than aesthetics. So, with that vision in mind, I transformed my favorite travel memories into ornaments using a little bit of craftiness, fueled by three cups of coffee and a constant loop of Michael Bublé’s Christmas album.
This year, as I haven’t traveled as much, my tree serves as a bittersweet reminder of the adventures I’ve had. It’s adorned with my favorite Instagram photos, postcards, and unique mementos collected from my most amazing trips. It’s a nostalgia-filled tree, exuding a vintage travel vibe. Think polaroid photos and old-timey maps with “Unknowne Lands” marked as locations. To complement this aesthetic, I selected turquoise and gold baubles, some of which I personally hand-painted to resemble globes. Although, if you look closely, my geography skills are questionable at best.
I also turned some cherished mementos into ornaments, such as my glühwein mug collection amassed through years of hoarding, a handmade mask bought in Burano with my boyfriend, and a lucky cat my mom gave me for good luck. I’m still undecided whether the Venetian mask is classy or terrifying—but I’ll wait until it startles me in the middle of the night to make a final judgment.
The key to a travel-themed tree is to evoke a weepy, sentimental mess within yourself. If it doesn’t, you probably have some more work to do. But don’t worry—I’ve got you covered with some inspiring ideas to help you on your mission!
Ideas for Your Own Travel Christmas Tree
Now that you’ve seen my travel-themed tree, let me guide you through recreating a similar look for your very own tree this year. I’ll share some DIY ideas and even suggest some great places to purchase stunning travel ornaments online.
1. Travel-Themed Baubles – The Perfect Travel Ornaments
No travel-themed Christmas tree is complete without beautiful baubles. Luckily, there are countless fun ideas to explore. Personally, I bought a small tin of metallic gold paint and used it to hand-paint map patterns on turquoise baubles. But if you prefer something effortless or ready-made, HolidayEveryDayArt and The Lonely Heart Co offer gorgeous globe-inspired baubles that you can personalize.
2. Map Print Ornaments
Another simple DIY idea for your travel-themed tree is to incorporate pretty map prints as ornaments. You can easily print vintage maps from free stock photo sites on your home printer. I used these downloadable maps to create scrolls and accordion-folded pieces, which I nestled within the branches. Additionally, I found some beautiful turquoise and gold wrapping paper to craft colorful fans for the tree. Get creative with your map prints, and consider using vintage map wrapping paper packs for a consistent theme.
3. Personal, Unique Trinkets
If you’re anything like me, you probably have a drawer full of random travel trinkets or larger items on display around your home. This is the perfect opportunity to give these items new life as ornaments. With a bit of ribbon, hot glue, or sticky tack, you can transform almost anything into a unique ornament. I turned mugs, beer glasses, stuffed animals, and even a poker chip from Vegas into festive decorations. Remember, the more eclectic, the better!
4. Photos and Postcards
To add a personal touch to your travel-themed tree, include plenty of your favorite photos and postcards. I opted for a budget-friendly solution by printing out my favorite Instagram photos and cutting them into polaroid-like shapes with white borders. I then attached metal ornament hooks to them to hang on the tree. For an extra magical touch, you can use mini-clothespins to clip them onto twinkling lights. If your tree doesn’t have lights, consider using fairy lights with photo clips for a truly enchanting effect.
5. Luggage Tags and Other Travel Motifs
I highly recommend using simple paper decorations to fill in any gaps on your tree. Luggage tags are a fantastic choice. You can use your own or purchase vintage luggage tag graphics online. Print them, cut them out, and string them up on twine. You can also explore free stock photo sites for other travel-themed graphics that you can turn into ornaments. Get creative and have fun!
6. A Travel-Themed Tree Topper
Every travel-themed Christmas tree needs a suitable crown. For my tree topper, I repurposed an old passport, tying strings through the holes created by the Canadian passport office when they invalidated it. To give it an extra touch, I added a vintage map cutout to the top. If you prefer a ready-made option, there are also some fantastic globe tree toppers available for purchase.
So, are you ready to create your own travel-themed tree? I assume you’re already out searching for the perfect tree, but if you’re still here, let me know which ideas you loved the most. If you make your own travel-themed tree this year, please share photos of your creation below. Happy holidays and happy decorating!
Save this article on Pinterest for later by clicking here.