Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Paper Christmas

Christmas this year will be one of many firsts: my first Christmas in New York, my first Christmas as a married lady, and my first Christmas with a one dimensional Christmas Tree.

I love a good Christmas tree, preferably a real live one the fills your nose with wafts of pine every time you walk in the room. I love the ritual of decorating a Christmas tree: returning to the box of ornaments every year and recalling where each one came from, untangling the blasted Christmas hooks from one another, and listening to Mannheim Steamroller on the CD player (I am a child of the '90's).  In fact I enjoy Christmas trees so much that I have been collecting Christmas ornaments since I graduated from college. I even had an Ornament Shower, before I got married.  My bounty of arbor accessories is growing nicely and I have several tubs full of them in my basement.  Which is in Chicago.  Not so convenient when you now live in New York.

When a move halfway across the country doesn't feel truly permanent it's hard to know what to bring along with you.  Needless to say the ornaments didn't make the cut.  We wouldn't have had the proper storage space here, and having two frisky kittens made me fearful of them swatting at the dangley, shiny objects and knocking the entire tree over.  I imagined being sound asleep, with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, being awoken to a loud crash, only to find my wonderful collection shattered across the living room floor.  Not a pretty picture.

However I couldn't let the Christmas season go by without some sort of tree.  It just wouldn't be right.  Not wanting to spend money on a cheap plastic tree, it finally dawned on me to make one of my own.  I consulted with my artistically gifted brother, and he agreed.  So last night we set about constructing our very first Paper Christmas Tree.

It's simple really.  You start out with some green and brown construction paper, tape and scissors.

We also chose to drink Champagne, which is entirely optional, but highly encouraged. Oh, and it's super helpful to have Christmas tunes blaring from your TV.  We didn't have any Steamroller, but we pressed on.

You then begin with a base and decide on your height.

If you have two kitties they will most likely want to be in on the action.  It's best not to fight with them about this.

Then begin the basic construction.

 Neill did this and I was relegated to "assistant taper".  I am a master with scotch tape.  He is much better at conceptualizing the entire design, and I, in turn, am better with the smaller details. We actually made a very good team.

(Stanley agrees). 

Once the tree is created you go back to add some "realistic" edging for a more polished look.

Then come the ornaments.  We purchased about ten sheets of shiny finished paper from Blick Art Supply, which I traced and cut into various sizes of circles, and diamonds. The kitties had a field day.

Neill was a whiz at making some gorgeous bells, and a tree topper.  After about an hour, and half a roll of tape, and a bottle of Champagne later, viola!

Our first Paper Christmas Tree! So much fun, very easy, and affordable (only $20!) to make.  The overhead lighting doesn't do much to flatter our tree, but it looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

I will certainly miss the smell, the feel, and the 3D-ness of it's predecessors, but I am very proud of our creative approach to Christmas this year.  Plus it was a great brotherly, sisterly, Tuesday evening activity.  If I wanted to get really crafty I could make a wreath to put on the door, but I will need more Champagne for that.


  1. Very nice! Does the $20 include the Champagne? I am jealous of all the fun you and Neill are having. Hope to see you in 2010 (and meet Jurgen)!

  2. What can I say??? Tears are welling in my eyes! You two are much too creative for words!!! Annie would love this as one of her mottoes was to "make do with what you have"- very wise lady, she was! Now, how about a mantle so we can hang the stockings?? Have a fire Christmas morn?? Just joking! So very glad Stanley and Miss T were able to contribute to the project. Love you all! Momma

  3. Your tree is lovely and no doubt will fill your home and hearts with Christmas cheer! Happy Holidays to you, Jurgen and Neill (and the kitties, too, of course!). Love, Glen

  4. Blair, I love the paper tree! You and Neill did a great job! Very creative. I hope you have a wonderful Chritmas in NYC! I am so impressed with your resourcefullness. You inspire me! Love, Grace

  5. Very cute! You have inspired me to finally haul out my holiday decor box...

  6. so fun to have Christmas with your brother!