Manzanita Advent Tree
November 11, 2009
A few weeks ago, I posted a blurb about Advent calendars. They were on my mind this year because it is one tradition I’ve been saving until I had children of my own that were old enough to get it. Sort of like how I’ve never read the Harry Potter series because I’m saving them for when my children are older. You know, so we can experience those novels together. I beg you, please don’t tell anyone I have yet to pick up a Potter. It’s shocking, but it’s true.
Now that my munchkins are three and five, and know the full meaning of the words “treat” and “candy”, it seemed the right time to create an Advent calendar. Funny how the words “Clean up your room” fall on deaf ears, but you can whisper “candy” from the deepest corner of the backyard and they come running like marathoners.
I have a thing for branches, especially manzanita branches. They are so dramatic, especially when used as centerpieces, or spray painted and suspended over tabletops or on walls. They take my breath away. So I really wanted to display some during the season. My idea was to make an Advent calendar with tiny packages suspended from those branches in a whimsical way.
Here is my own sweetie manza-neaty Advent calendar tree.
Here’s the lowdown on how I pulled this one together.
First, I acquired three sandblasted 24” tall manzanita branches from these friendly fellows, and I stabilized them in floral foam, placed them in a festive red pot, and covered them with moss.
It was too expensive to purchase individual gift boxes – they add up quickly. I had to get a little resourceful and ‘buy in bulk’. I circled the craft store, and chose a dozen favor boxes, a set of truffle boxes, some candy and cake boxes, jewelry boxes, and a few inexpensive felt stockings. Repetition of the same box would have worked, but I thought a medley would be more interesting, more like a Christmas tree. And as a result, the kiddies would never know what was coming up next.
I reasoned an Advent tree was a great way to slowly divvy out all that confiscated Halloween candy, and also throw in a few little trinkets in the lead up to Christmas. My kids don’t know the difference (yet) between a present that costs a quarter and something expensive, so I’m taking full advantage of their ignorance. I raided the dollar bin at a few stores, and then inserted a few other inexpensive trinkets, like these.
Good ol’ Pez dispensers:
Cheap wind up toys:
And that Halloween candy.
There will be extra teeth brushing this season, I can tell you that.
Ordinarily, I don’t have the patience to decorate teeny tiny gift boxes. But since this is an investment in the next ten years or so, I took the time. Here’s a peek.
Embellished jewelry boxes:
Wedding favor boxes:
And several tagged stockings:
It’s all in the details
If you’re curious about that backdrop, that’s just a little something I call “Winter Berries on Canvas”. The Fall Leaves on Canvas I concocted a few months ago simply didn’t coordinate, so this is my winter version for my James Bond attempt at camouflage.
If you have no clue what I’m talking about read this, then this. And if y’all give a hoot about my homemade art, and want a step-by-step, give me a holler and I’ll write up a quick post about these Winter Berries (which would look marvelous in a series, I might add), and my amateurish attempt to copycat a photograph and make three dimensional art.
But I must show you this gratuitous snowfall shot to tempt you. Cause it’s purty.
Back to Advent. For the last few days before Christmas, the packages get larger. You know, to build up the excitement.
This last gift box below is for the little baby Jesus from the nativity. They can fight over who gets to put him in the manger, just like we did when we were kids. I hope to continue that tradition too. I can hear them now. “It’s my turn!” “No, it’s my turn!” “Waaaaaaahhhh!”
Before I forget, I must share that my latest fascination is gifts wrapped in fabric. Seriously ! I think the most amazing hostess gift would be homemade napkins wrapped up in a box in the very same fabric.
Fabric covered gift box:
Now before you question where I found cedar branches, I’ve got to be frank. We just trimmed up our Italian cyprus, so this photo is completely staged with the clippings from those trees.
Let me close by saying, no confessing, that the front foyer of our home has been injected with a wink of Christmas spirit. Granted, it competes with the Thanksgiving table, but I can accept that for a few short weeks.
Can’t wait to show you how I plan to decorate the staircase. Let’s just say it involves hounds tooth and velvet and a musical theme. All that is coming very soon !