Just a few months left and already you’ve got the holidays on your mind! We totally get you. Things are looking a little different for holiday celebrations this year due to social distancing rules. Now is the perfect time to get into the spirit early and plan an extra special Christmas at home. Go all out with a decorating theme that’s close to your heart. One way is to use your favorite holiday flick as inspiration for a movie-themed Christmas tree.

The Year Without a Santa Claus white Christmas tree
Christmas tree décor and photo by Mark LaFerney

At Treetopia, we’re all about self-expression and we love the unique. We asked our friend Mark LaFerney of Slumbering Alligator to come up with his version of a movie-themed Christmas tree. We were bowled over when he chose one of the most underrated but best-loved holiday claymation classics ever, The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974). If you haven’t seen this feel-good flick yet, Bustle lists 8 reasons you should (Warning: spoiler alert).

Keep reading to watch how Mark transformed the Treetopia Winter White Christmas tree with DIY ornaments and then some.

The Year Without a Santa Claus character ornaments
Heat Miser and Snow Miser DIY ornaments and image by Mark LaFerney.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to decorate a movie-themed Christmas tree of your own.

1. Pick a film and color for your movie-themed Christmas tree.

Once you’ve identified your holiday film theme, choose a colorful Christmas tree. One way to cut out the guesswork is to pick a tree in a classic holiday color. Aside from traditional green, why not go for one with red, gold, or white foliage. Just like Mark, a white tree is your best bet if you want your colorful decorations to pop. Let it act as a blank canvas for your masterpiece.

Treetopia trees come in different shapes, sizes, and lighting features. You’ve got lots of options to suit your space and style. 

Treetopia Tip: Can’t make up your mind? Take our Color Personality Quiz to see what hue best suits you.

2. Craft movie-themed Christmas tree ornaments.

Here’s where the real fun starts. With the help of his friend Enero of Pillbox79 Productions, Mark created this detailed video. It nails down how to decorate a tree using The Year Without a Santa Claus as inspiration. You’ll learn how to make ornaments based on the film’s main characters: Heat Miser and Snow Miser.

If you haven’t watched his favorite Christmas movie yet, you will now. Get this list of supplies ready:

Heat Miser Christmas Ball Ornament


Clear shatterproof bulb ornament
2 oz. bottle of Apple Barrel matte acrylic paint in Antique Parchment
Black, white, and red Sharpie Fine Tip paint markers
2 small yellow pom poms from Creatology
2 small orange pom poms from Creatology
1 large red pom poms from Creatology
Low-temp hot glue gun and sticks
Egg carton

  1. Squeeze matte acrylic paint inside bulb ornament. Rotate until fully coated.
  2. Let dry overnight upside down in an egg carton.
  3. Draw on nose with a red paint marker.
  4. Use a black paint marker to add the mouth and its details.
  5. Draw a vertical line under the nose.
  6. Create a brow using black paint marker.
  7. Draw on U-shaped eyes.
  8. Add eye pupils.
  9. Draw expression lines under eyes.
  10. With your red paint marker, connect mouth pieces to add the bottom portion of mouth.
  11. Draw in teeth lines using black paint marker.
  12. Use white paint marker to fill in eyes and teeth. Add a white dot in each eye.
  13. Fluff pom-poms and hot glue on top of ornament as hair.

Snow Miser Christmas Ball Ornament


Clear shatterproof bulb ornament
2 oz. bottle of Apple Barrel matte acrylic paint in Cloudless
Black, white, and blue Sharpie Fine Tip paint markers
Low-temp hot glue gun and sticks
Egg carton

  1. Squeeze matte acrylic paint inside the bulb ornament. Rotate the ornament until fully coated with paint.
  2. Let it dry overnight upside down in an egg carton.
  3. Draw on the nose with a blue paint marker.
  4. Use a black paint marker to add Snow Miser's smirk.
  5. Draw on jaw lines.
  6. Finish the mouth using the blue paint marker.
  7. With your black paint marker, add on house-like eyes.
  8. Draw on blue emotion lines under the eyes.
  9. Add whites of eyes using the white paint marker.
  10. Use a glue gun to add ice and hair details.

Now that you have your Heat Miser and Snow Miser DIY ornaments, it’s time to transform your Christmas tree into a scene out of The Year Without a Santa Claus. And, just for kicks, find out which “Miser” you are in this fun quiz from Buzzfeed.

Mark LaFerney: Hello, I'm Mark LaFerney of slumberingalligator.com. I am so excited to be partnering with my friends over a Treetopia to bring you something super special for the holidays today. I thought it would be so fun to create a movie-themed Christmas tree that features movie-themed Christmas decorations. Now, there are lots of really great holiday films. One of my absolute favorites is The Year Without a Santa Claus. I just love the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser. I'm going to be showing you how to make the Heat Miser and the Snow Miser today so you can decorate your own Treetopia Christmas tree.

As you can see, I've already decked out this beautiful 30-inch white Treetopia wreath behind me with a few of my decorations. I cannot wait for you to see the entire tree. Before I go any further, I want to give a special shout out to my friend Enero of pillbox79.com for editing this video. Thank you so much, Enero. All right, let's make some ornaments. For the Heat Miser, you will need a clear shatterproof bulb ornament, matte acrylic paint in antique parchment, black white and red paint markers, yellow, orange, and red pom-poms, a low-temp hot glue gun and glue sticks, and an egg carton.

The very first step in creating the Heat Miser is to paint your ornament. Now we're going to do this by removing the top, and we are simply going to squeeze our antique parchment colored paint right inside of the ornament. Turn the ornament and squeeze a generous amount. What we're going to do is just swirl the paint around. We're going to want to get a full coverage. It's nice to have the egg carton nearby for any drips. Now, this takes a minute, and you can always add more paint as necessary.

It is looking fully covered. As you can see, I got a little paint there. It's not a big deal. I'll go ahead and just wipe that off. Then, what you're going to want to do is turn this upside down in your egg carton and let it dry overnight. Now paint will drip out and puddle, but that's okay. That's why you have the egg carton there. Now that my ornament is fully dry, I put the lid back on and attach the ornament hook. While this is drying, it's great to be able to hang it up.

Let's get started. The first thing I like to do is start with the nose. For the Heat Miser, I'm just going to find the center, and I'm simply going to draw the nose on. I'm going to draw a-- I think it's like the shape of a candy kiss is how I look at it. Next, we're going to add the mouth using your black paint pen. Now, we're going to connect these lines. Now, on the left side of the mouth, I'm just going to make a little triangular shape, just like so, almost looks like a little piece of cheese, and I'm going to fill that in with a little bit of black. Then, I'm going to do something very similar on the right side of the mouth here.

We're going to come back to the mouse in a minute, but first, I'm going to draw one little quick line under your nose. We're going to move up to the eyes now. We're going to be creating this brow here, and I think of it as-- It's like an upside-down W. It also, to me, looks like someone saying, "I don't know." This sort of gesture. Let me show you here. For the actual eyes, we're going to be making Us. I'm going to start here at the lowest point of the brow, just like so. You can see the face taking shape there. We're going to go ahead and add in our pupils really quick.

It's looking very good. I'm going to add some quick expression lines. You're just going to want to draw a line under the eyes, so good. Back down to the mouth. Time for the red marker again. We're just going to connect these two areas here to form the bottom portion of the Heat Miser's mouth, just like so. Then, we're going to add the teeth lines, two straight lines in the mouth. Now that the Heat Miser's features have dried, we're going to go ahead and fill in the teeth and the eyes with the white paint pen. There you have it. Then, just add one little dot in each eye, and there you have your painted face.

Next, we're going to add the Heat Miser's hair. I've heated my low-temp glue gun, and I have my pom-poms, which are going to be Heat Miser's hair. I have bigger red pom-pom here, and I just like to fluff it up with my hands, pull it apart, even something like that would be great. The wilder the hair, I find the better. Same with your little yellow and orange fluffy baby pom-poms here, just fluff them up a little more with your hands.

Then, you're going to grab your Heat Miser ornament and just place a line hot glue here at the top. Be very careful not to burn yourself. We're going to place that big red tuft of hair right there in the center. Then, we're going to add our orange and the yellow pom-poms to the side. It's fun to take pieces like this and then tuck them in. There we have it, the finished Heat Miser ornament.

Let's make that Snow Miser. For the Snow Miser, you will need a clear shatterproof bulb ornament, matte acrylic paint in cloudless, black, white, and blue paint markers, a low-temp hot glue gun and glue sticks, and keep that egg carton nearby. For the Snow Miser, we're going to start decorating it the same way as the Heat Miser. We're going to remove the top and we are going to squeeze in our lovely blue paint, fully covered. We'll just go ahead and let that dry next to our Heat Miser overnight.

Let's get started on the Snow Miser. I'm going to start with the nose, just like I did the Heat Miser. As you can tell, Snow Miser has a much longer nose. It reminds me of a witch nose that has a little indentation, like a wart at the top of it here. Let's go ahead and start drawing on our nose. I'm just going to find the center and start with a tiny little line. Now what I'm going to do is just beef up my nose. Do that by just adding a little additional blue to the tip of the nose.

Next, we're going to switch over to our black paint pen, and we're going to add the Snow Miser's smirk there. Just under the nose, I'm going to draw one single line that smirks up at the end. Switch back to our blue paint pen to finish off the mouth, which is just one additional line. Where your mouth is, I'm going to go under, just connect it. It's time to add Snow Miser's eyes. Now, they're a little tricky just because they have an interesting shape, but it's nothing too hard, in fact, I see it to look like a crooked house, basically. As you can see, there's the floor and then the size of the house and then a slanted roof. We're going to start with Snow Miser's left eye, and it's going to come out of the nose line.


I'm going to grab that blue paint pen one last time and add some more emotion lines. Now that our Snow Miser's features are mostly dry, I'm going to go ahead and paint on the whites of his eyes. Now that that's done, let's go ahead and add the icicle details using our low-temp hot glue gun. I like to dangle some icicles off the tip of Snow Miser's nose. Using your glue gun, make a straight line. Pull up at the end. I like to add three icicles to his nose. Then, to make Snow Miser's hair, I just do a zigzag of hot glue along the top. Start at the top, go down, back towards the top. There you have it, the Snow Miser.

In addition to the great ornamentation I created for this tree, I thought it would be super fun to go over-the-top with my Christmas movie theme and hand paint backdrops of the Heat Miser and Snow Miser's lair.


I really love when all the pieces come together. There in the background, you will see my hand-painted backdrops for the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser's lair, then, the beautifully decorated Treetopia tree featuring Heat Miser on one half and Snow Miser on the other. You'll also notice the felt snowflakes and felt flames. Red and white ribbon works perfectly for the Heat Miser, and then, I added blue polka dot for the Snow Miser side.

I really hope you enjoyed this video with all of its Christmas movie theme decorating ideas. Sometimes, it's just fun to go big, and with a great theme like this, there are so many possibilities. I hope you are feeling inspired to create your own Treetopia movie-themed Christmas. From me, the Heat Miser, the Snow Miser, and of course all of my friends at Treetopia, we are wishing you a very happy holiday season.


3. Choose from more movie-themed Christmas Tree ideas.

Aside from The Year Without a Santa Claus, here are more ideas to inspire you. There are so many holiday films out there that would translate into amazing decorating schemes. The list is endless. Christmas decorations of Hallmark movies, anyone? If you can’t single out just one, then why not plan a theme that combines elements of several favorites?

Harry Potter Decorating Ideas

Whether you’re a muggle, squib, or wizard-born, decorating a movie-themed Christmas tree inspired by Harry Potter is a magical way to celebrate. Don’t just stop at the tree, either. Decorate a wreath with DIY ornaments of your favorite Wizarding World symbols like Lauren Fairweather.

Treetopia's Color Burst Rainbow Wreath decorated with Harry Potter-themed ornaments
Wreath décor and image by Lauren Fairweather

Want to go all out? Extend the theme to the rest of your space. Transform it look like the Hogwarts great hall decked out for the holidays by hanging flameless candles from the ceiling, cook up an enormous Christmas feast, and dress up in house robes.    

The Grinch Decorations

It’s hard to dislike this grumpy, green creature no matter how much you try. He symbolizes the power of the Christmas spirit—it gets him in the end, you see. A Grinch movie-themed Christmas tree lets you play with plenty of colors. Plus, this is something the kids will love.

Decorating for Christmas with a grinch-inspired theme
Oh Yeah Em’s version of Whoville. Image and décor by Em Hagood Jones.

The great thing about colorful Christmas trees is they stand out whether you hang a few ornaments or go for broke. Take a page from Oh Yeah Em’s decorating style and dress up the rest of your home with Grinch merch. Who loves this idea? You that’s who!

The Nightmare Before Christmas Decorating Ideas

Can’t decide whether you love Christmas or Halloween more? The Nightmare Before Christmas is the perfect pick for your movie-themed Christmas tree. Just take a look at this one by Bria Snyder.

Nightmare Before Christmas movie themed Christmas tree
Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired tree décor and image by Bria Snyder.

Shop online for themed ornaments or go the DIY route and craft some of your own. Another idea is to make Nightmare Before Christmas versions of these edible tree ornaments.

Other Themed Decorating and Party Ideas for Christmas

Oh, and who says you need to stick to Christmas films? You can also take your pick from your favorite TV series and non-holiday films. Read these posts for decorations and party ideas inspired by Game of Thrones, Rick and Morty, Star Trek, Stranger Things, and Star Wars:

4. Decorate the rest of your home to go with your movie-themed Christmas tree.

Like Mark, go the extra mile and add decorative accents such as a backdrop and a wreath. These will tie the whole theme together nicely. Take your pick from our traditional and colorful foliage to get started.

White wreath with The Year Without a Santa Claus decorations
Winter White Wreath décor and image by Mark LaFerney

From your table setting and DIY tree ornaments to other holiday décor, there’s no limit to decorating in the name of your favorite film. Round it off with a home screening of the Christmas movie that made all your efforts worthwhile.

Here’s hoping this post has you setting up a movie-themed Christmas tree in no time. Share it with fellow film buffs or anyone who wants a reel-ly unique way to decorate for the holidays.   

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