Alternative Christmas trees open door to creativity


Unusual but fun Christmas trees can be made from almost anything

By Faith Bemiss - [email protected]



Chelsea Kehde, owner of Chelsea’s Antiques in downtown Sedalia, talks about the alternative Christmas tree she made out of neckties. “I consider myself the queen of neckties, because I love them and I’ve done other projects with them,” she said.


Faith Bemiss | Democrat

Last year Chelsea Kehde made two mannequin trees by using part of a silver Christmas tree. She decided to add one of the trees to her window display this year.


Faith Bemiss | Democrat

A book tree, created by Chelsea Kehde, is a customer favorite at Chelsea’s Antiques. “We were lucky, we had three sets of 50 books each. That helped,” she said.


Faith Bemiss | Democrat

Chelsea Kehde folded colorful handkerchiefs and pinned them to foam core to create this festive alternative Christmas tree assemblage.


Faith Bemiss | Democrat

Taking Christmas decorating to a whole new level, Chelsea Kehde not only puts up a tree for the holidays, but creates them from neckties, jewelry, handkerchiefs and books.

Kehde, owner of Chelsea’s Antiques in downtown Sedalia, has several of the alternative and fun Christmas trees in her display window on South Ohio Avenue.

“It’s kind of the popular thing to do right now,” she said.

She added that many people are searching out ideas on Pinterest, with some enthusiasts making the trees from ladders, and even wood from packing pallets.

“They are using strips of wood at different lengths to give it a tree shape,” she said. “Then hanging ornaments from that.”

One of her tallest alternative trees is made all from neckties.

“The necktie tree took a long time,” she said Wednesday. “It was a lot of starts and stops, you know just the engineering of the frame, which is basically like a hoop skirt.”

The tree is eight feet tall and has seven rows. Kehde said she was unsure how many neckties it took to make the tree, but on the first row, at the bottom, she used 68 ties.

“I consider myself the queen of neckties, because I love them and I’ve done other projects with them,” she said.

While creating the necktie tree she had to go and purchase additional ties.

“I had enough neckties, but I wanted them to be basically the same width,” she said.

To light the tree she used lighting she had seen on television, but found locally. The small round lights hang vertical, cascading down the tree from a central ring at the crown.

Kehde has also created a festive tree from folded handkerchiefs that she placed in a frame and then added jewelry to represent ornaments.

“It was very easy,” she said. “It took probably less than a half an hour. All we did was pin them to foam core, and put the little border around it, to give it a little more of a Christmasy theme. You could do it all out of Christmas hankies. I think it’s really cool, it’s just kind of a fun thing.”

Also in her front window is a tree made from vintage cracker tins, a framed tree made with jewelry and a tree made exclusively from books.

“It just shows you, that whatever you have you can make a tree,” she said. “Everybody loves the book tree.”

The book tree is made from more than 160 books stacked strategically.

“Again, it’s one of those things that took some starts and stops, until you got the hang of how it was going to go, and not tip over,” Kehde said laughing. “We were lucky, we had three sets of 50 books each. That helped. This would be a perfect idea for using encyclopedias, that nobody wants, that you can’t give away, and yet they are really pretty.”

She and her manager Charles Wise added lights to the tree and tucked ornaments around the books.

“Last year I did two of these mannequin trees,” she added. “So I brought her back out. It was basically recycling a silver tree that wasn’t complete and then adding just some fun Christmas things. You can use any sort of color combination … I just think it’s adorable.”

Kehde took a vintage wire dress stand and dressed it with a satin top and a silver tinseled skirt, and decorated with Christmas ornaments and greenery.

“If you go on Pinterest and type in alternative Christmas trees, you’ll get a lot of really cool ideas,” she noted. “It’s amazing! It’s kind of anything goes, and I think people really like that. It gets their creative juices going.”

She said she isn’t sure if she will make more trees this season, but she might consider the thought.

“You never know when an idea might strike,” she said smiling.

Chelsea Kehde, owner of Chelsea’s Antiques in downtown Sedalia, talks about the alternative Christmas tree she made out of neckties. “I consider myself the queen of neckties, because I love them and I’ve done other projects with them,” she said.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_TSD120116AlternativeTrees-1.jpgChelsea Kehde, owner of Chelsea’s Antiques in downtown Sedalia, talks about the alternative Christmas tree she made out of neckties. “I consider myself the queen of neckties, because I love them and I’ve done other projects with them,” she said. Faith Bemiss | Democrat

Last year Chelsea Kehde made two mannequin trees by using part of a silver Christmas tree. She decided to add one of the trees to her window display this year.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_TSD120116AlternativeTrees-2-.jpgLast year Chelsea Kehde made two mannequin trees by using part of a silver Christmas tree. She decided to add one of the trees to her window display this year. Faith Bemiss | Democrat

A book tree, created by Chelsea Kehde, is a customer favorite at Chelsea’s Antiques. “We were lucky, we had three sets of 50 books each. That helped,” she said.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_TSD120116AlternativeTrees-3.jpgA book tree, created by Chelsea Kehde, is a customer favorite at Chelsea’s Antiques. “We were lucky, we had three sets of 50 books each. That helped,” she said. Faith Bemiss | Democrat

Chelsea Kehde folded colorful handkerchiefs and pinned them to foam core to create this festive alternative Christmas tree assemblage.
http://sedaliademocrat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_TSD120116AlternativeTrees-4.jpgChelsea Kehde folded colorful handkerchiefs and pinned them to foam core to create this festive alternative Christmas tree assemblage. Faith Bemiss | Democrat
Unusual but fun Christmas trees can be made from almost anything

By Faith Bemiss

[email protected]

Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or on Twitter @flbemiss.

Sedalia Democrat

Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or on Twitter @flbemiss.

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