Seriously though, not everybody contributes and I’m okay with that. Some don’t do anything at all and some don’t quite follow the spirit of the exchange. My mother, for example, insists she’s not crafty or imaginative enough to actually make something…so she usually buys something like candy or flavored popcorn to give as a gift. But, though that’s not as much fun for the gift exchangers, I’m still glad she participates in the fun and I’m always hopeful we’ll inspire her with our enthusiasm to go that extra mile the next time.
So why do I ask my family to make their gifts? Because the time and thought spent on the gifts is precious. To me, it embodies the whole spirit of Christmas. And though it’s a challenge every year for us to come up with new ideas, the feeling of accomplishment is so incredible and the pleasure when someone raves over what you’ve done…well…you can’t beat those feelings.
I’ve run the gamut over the years from making a wire tree strung with tiny ornaments to making candles and soap. Each project had a level of success and a modicum of failure. This year I recreated something I actually saw hanging on the wall at our veterinarian’s office. (With 13 dogs we spend a LOT of time there, giving me plenty of opportunity to study the item that inspired me!).
I loved the folk artsy feel of the tree so I went to the hobby store and found the stuff I needed to make it. Michael’s sells pieces of pine that I used to make the trunk of the tree and I cut the wood in varying lengths (3” less in length for each ascending “branch”) and used Liquid Nails to glue them on. I chose to put them on crooked, making a kind of zig-zag shape that, I think, made the tree more folksy. Then I drilled a hole on the top and holes on the ends of each branch. I used a star-shaped green button for the top because I like the bright green with the bright red buttons on the branches. I used soft jewelry wire to attach the “ornaments” to the ends of the branches so I could shape the dangle of the ornaments.
You could stain the tree too. I chose to coat it with tinted oil instead. The tree that originally inspired me was made of weathered wood with rusted bells on the ends of the branches. I love that look too and might make the tree again next year with barn wood. The whole project probably took less than 2 hours once I had all the parts gathered up. That allows for drying time for the glue.
Happy crafting, Everybody!
Sam, this is just adorable!!!
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