First it must be said, I am not a great fan of family holidays. They bring a lot of anxiety for me. Christmas is especially rough. Most years I try to just ignore it. But this year, if feels like people have been preparing for this holiday since August. And while I am not exactly on jumping on board the Christmas train, I thought I would make the teeniest effort this year.
My apartment building does not allow natural trees, and I will never purchase a fake one. So I usually go without. This year, due to my lack of bookshelf space more than anything, I decided to make a book tree. It looks a bit haphazard and lopsided, and that it may collapse at any moment, but I assure you it is structurally sound. Besides I kind of like a quirky and not perfect tree. If you want perfection, go search pinterest– there are plenty of examples that will meet your needs. But for me, a little chaos and a whole lot of imperfection suits just fine.
If you want to know how I did it – here is the breakdown.
- Sort your books into 4 piles, large hardcovers, medium and small hardcovers, large paperbacks, and medium and small paperbacks
- Put your largest book in what you imagine is going to be the centre of the tree. My largest book is the Random House dictionary from196? Its humongous!
- Put your next largest books in a circle with the spines outward- make sure there are spaces in between each book – so that the corners of each are only touching
- For each layer, lay the book in between the two below it
- Use your largest books for the first few layers, and then move onto smaller and lighter books the further you go up
- After you have created a sort of wall around your centre book, put box on top – that you can build your tree around
- When you have finally reached the top of your tree, you can add a topper -I think most people use a star or an angel
- Wrap some lights or garland around the tree – remember that if you choose to use lights, that paper is flammable, so make sure you keep an eye on it. Don’t leave the lights plugged in for long periods of time.
What I love about my book tree, is that not only does it free up much needed shelf space, and gives me a constant reminder of my very large to be read list (currently at 57 books), but it helps to remind me that its ok to take some time out for myself, and read or do some other solo activity when Im feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Plus it lets me display my grandfather’s christmas ornaments from when he was a boy. The snowman that sits on the top of the tree once belonged to him. He is missing his nose, and there is a sort of noose around his neck – which is how he is usually hung on the tree – but I wouldn’t change him. I love him, just how he is.
I have a lot of books left over, so I think I might rebuild the tree tomorrow, and make it quite a bit taller. Which will give me an opportunity to restring the lights, clearly I need some practice in that area.
In celebration of reading 100 books this year, I rebuilt my tree – so it now consists of all the books I own. And now it looks like this: