Making an Aussie Bush Christmas Tree


A few days ago, we were planning my daughter Imogen’s latest music video.

“I’m singing a Christmas carol. Where do you think we should film the video?”

“We could put up our Christmas tree early and film it inside.”

“I bet most people would do that. We should do something different.”

“We could film the video at the nature reserve or in the bush.”

“But how would we make an outside location look like Christmas?”

“I could make an Aussie bush Christmas tree,” I offered. “Imogen, you could stand next to it.”

I made an Aussie bush tree last year. A few days before Christmas, I walked down the road to the bush and came home with an armful of branches that had fallen off the gum trees. I tied the branches together at one end and then pulled them out to form a wobbly cone shape. I threaded coloured lights in and out of the branches. I added a few salt dough decorations, felt birds, strings of buttons, and some leaves and flowers. I then shouted, “Hey, come and look at my Christmas tree!”


My family came to look.

“What do you think?”

“Well, Mum, we’ve never seen anything like it.”

I wonder if that meant they liked it.


My tree might have looked a bit unusual, but as the daylight faded and the fairy lights began to sparkle more strongly, my tree came alive. I thought it was very beautiful.


Yesterday afternoon, I headed once more into the bush in search of fallen tree branches. I found some very long ones along the sides of the tracks, and almost tripped myself up trying to haul them home. Once back at our house, I tossed them into a pile on the driveway before wiping the sweat from my brow. (It was rather a warm almost-summer afternoon.) I was just about to set off on another foraging trip when I noticed a number of branches under the gum tree outside our house. Did they come from last year’s Aussie Christmas tree? Perhaps they did. So I gathered them up and added them to my heap.

This morning we were up early, and by 6.15 am, we were at a local nature reserve. The mist was rising off the nearby river. The birds were calling. The air was a little bit chilly. We carted our equipment from the car and began setting up the cameras. But before Imogen could start singing ‘December Song’, we had to assemble the Aussie bush Christmas tree.



Once Imogen had tied the branches together and pulled all the ‘legs’ out into position, the tree was ready for its decorations. The girls added fairy lights, baubles, glittery cones, and beads. They topped the tree with a bright red star.


Next Wednesday, you’ll be able to see how the tree looked in Imogen’s video. Please watch out for her latest Christmas offering, ‘December Song’, on her Youtube channel. We’re hoping this video will be extra-special because Imogen is entering it in Peter Hollens’ cover contest.

This morning, after we’d finished filming the video, we dismantled the bush tree. We tossed all the decorations into a basket and bundled the branches together. Then we brought everything home with us. The week before Christmas, I’m going to reassemble the tree and place it in the corner of our living room. When the daylight fades and the fairy lights begin to twinkle, I think it’s going to look even better than last year’s Aussie bush Christmas tree.

So what do you think? Do you like our tree? Have you ever made an unusual Christmas tree of your own?

PS: See those red wrapped Christmas parcels? Do you know what’s in the boxes? Exciting presents? No, they are empty!

PPS: I think my first tree was inspired by a post on the blog Natural Medley. Jazzy Jack is a very creative person and I remember feeling excited by some of her decorations which were made from whatever she had on hand. I did look for the original post but couldn’t find it. You could hop over and take a look of your own!

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    • Lisa
    • November 26, 2016

    I really do like your bush Christmas trees Sue. I can almost smell last years one … a scent I miss, a unique Aussie smell. xxx

    1. Reply


      Oh yes, there is nothing quite like the scent of the Australian bush! We used to enjoy the scent of a fresh pine Christmas tree, but we can no longer afford the luxury of buying one. They are very expensive. It’s just as well I love my free Aussie bush tree and its smell! I bet you could make a tree out of whatever branches you have on hand. Add a few uniquely NZ things and you’ll have a wonderful tree of your own!

      I’ve been wondering… When are you returning to blogging? I miss you!

        • Lisa
        • November 29, 2016

        There is a tree here called the pohutakawa which flowers at Christmas time and would make the most perfect christmas tree … it is in fact commonly referred to as NZ’s christmas tree and if you see it you will know why.

        I hope to return to blogging one day … it’s just been finding the time. I blog in my head a lot. 😉

        1. Reply


          The pohutakawa tree is beautiful! I enjoyed reading the article and finding out more. I listened to a kids’ pohutakawa Christmas carol on Youtube too.

          You’ve probably seen the NSW Christmas bush. It also flowers at Christmas. I once gave my Goddaughter one of these plants as a Christmas gift. Amazingly, it is flourishing. It would never have survived under my care!

          I wish I could see inside your head. I bet there are lots of interesting blog posts in there!

  1. Reply

    The tree looks cool! Had my parents stayed in Northeastern Arizona rather than moving back to New Mexico, we might have wound up with similar holiday decorations. Huge swaths of New Mexico are blanketed in pine forests though, so we made an annual hike with an ax, (and of course our forest service permit), to get a Christmas tree.

    Good luck on the video/music contest!!!

    1. Reply


      It must be wonderful to be able to hike into the forest, choose a tree, and take it home! We could visit a Christmas tree farm if we wanted to have a pine tree. We’ve done that a few times. The only problem is that they are very expensive. We have a few weedy looking trees dotted about in the bush but I bet they are nothing like yours. Also, I don’t think we’d be allowed to chop them down!

      Thank you for your good luck message. If you’d like to take a look, Imogen’s video went live today.

      1. Reply

        Thanks Sue and Imogen! It’s awesome!

        1. Reply


          Thanks for watching and for your kind comment!

  2. Reply

    I love your take on “our” tree. It looked fabulous in Imogen’s video too!
    Here is the direct link to my original post you mentioned. Thanks for that.
    Ours is up again as you saw on Instagram 🙂
    Xo Jazzy Jack

    1. Reply

      Jazzy Jack,

      Thanks so much for the link to your post. I shall hop over and take another look at it. Yes, I saw your tree on Instagram this morning. It looks good! Isn’t it fun experimenting with whatever we have at hand? There are certainly some great free materials lying around in the bush. I’m gad you like our version of your tree!

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