Helpful Things

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Guest Post -- Amber Grace's Book Tree

Bill: Whoa, Ted, check it out.
Ted: What? What is it?
Bill: This bodacious babe just came over to guest blog about her most excellent and finely crafted Christmas tree.
Ted: Totally awesome! Does it have chicks in it?
Bill: Read on, dude, let's find out.

Christmas was my father's favorite time of year. He was all about decorating, hanging the lights, all of it. Even after he passed away, my mother kept up some of his traditions. The most important to me was the Christmas tree. Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, the tree would be put up. I'd like to say that we'd spend a fun filled evening decorating it and having a family moment, but that's just not true. My mother would spend days getting it just right. It was the only decorating we ever did in our home and it was important. Christmas wasn't Christmas without a tree. One year, we even had two!

Eighteen months ago, I moved away from my family to join my husband after he joined the US Army. This past year was the first time I'd ever celebrated Christmas without them. Let me just say, right now, Christmas is a crazy maker. I went nuts. We thought about buying an artificial tree but decided against it. In fact, we weren't even going to get one until we drove past the tree stand just outside the Post Exchange and saw the most adorable little trees imaginable. We don't have children and neither of us are very big on gift giving so a tree wasn't necessary, but I was seized with such a strong sense of purpose that he agreed, almost immediately, to let me have my way.

Thus began several weeks of outrageous spending on my part. My husband, bless him, only complained two or three times a day about it and I knew that it was out of hand. Our tree was lovely, if dead, all through Christmas time and I wouldn't change that experience for the world. However, I vowed that I wouldn't do it again this year. In fact, I told myself as I attempted to vacuum up pine needles for the 4th time, I wouldn't even have a tree next year.

I almost kept my word. Until roughly three days ago, my house was completely decoration free. I was basking in the non-stress of it all, then a friend of mine shared a picture that had gone viral of a Book Tree. A Book Tree! Suddenly, that sense of holiday spirit and absolute purpose seized me by the throat. I waited impatiently for the other half of this decision making machine to come home and suggested it. He thought it was brilliant!

What could be better? A tree that's made out of something we both love so much, something that defines us as people and shows the world, and ourselves, a little something about us. Cue a frenzy of book gathering, large books for the base and successively smaller books and arranged them in a big spiral. Fiction, nonfiction, religious books. Even a few books named after a certain time of day to represent how disgusted with myself I was.

Though we didn't use all of our collection, not even half, we decided to shore up the center with a couple of small empty boxes. I apologize now that I didn't get any photos of it. I honestly didn't think about it. Then it was time for lights! I simply wrapped two strings around and topped the entire thing with pom poms and crocheted snowflakes.

Why pom poms you ask? Because I have two very inquisitive cats, and though I had unbreakable bulbs last year it was a nightmare. This way if they pulled one down to play with it, I wouldn't have to worry about them ingesting a bucket load of glitter.

While I can't take credit for the original idea, I have no idea who first did it, I can wholeheartedly get behind the idea. It's beautiful, unique and most importantly free! How can you argue with that?

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