I went with a tree that inspires multiple senses…
Orange Clove Balls (smell): They look cool and are super easy. Stick hard cloves (pointed end first) into oranges. They smell great. Apparently, if you get enough cloves and you let them dry out in a dry cool place(Which is not naturally found here in the Northwest.),they will be preserved.
Jar candles (light): I used 1/2 pint jars and 2 1/2 feet of floral wire times 2 for each jar. Wrap one wire around the rims on the lip of the jar at the mid-section of the wire. Twist a lot until there is a 4 inch section of twisted wire. Do the same to the other side. Twist the handles together at the top a couple of times, make a loop the size you need and twist the top closed. I wrapped the extra wire around the loop. You can use tea light candles, but with a regular tree battery tea lights are safer.
Silver Bell Garland (sound): Hugh amount of silver bells and wire or string. I used a thin hemp jewelry twine. Knot each bell on the twine or they will fall into clumps.
Cinnamon Ornaments: Most people just use 1:1 ground cinnamon and applesauce. Martha Stewart uses 1:4 ground cinnamon and applesauce with some glue. Either way they smell great! If they are too thin, they will break easily.
Recycled Wrapping Paper: Most things that come in the mail have packaging inside to keep the items in place during shipping. A lot of mine have wads of paper. I straighten the pieces out, fold them and place them in a storage box (“Recycled Wrapping Paper Box). Tie a ribbon around it and it is ready to go. If it is for a child, I let the children paint the paper.
Cloth Wrapping Bags: I got a sheet at a rummage sale. The perfect color of red flannel. I used the edges for the top of the bags and sewed the other three sides. Most of the bags only had two sides to sew. So Easy! I made rubber band out of the extra elastic. I could use cute cloth ribbons. (I still may do that.) These bags make large, strange shaped objects easy to wrap. Best of all you can use them year after year. Fifty cents for 5 bags.
Final Tree of 2011:
To make the whole room festive, I strung lights around the entire room and hung “snow” stars from the ceiling. There is something very special about things hanging from the ceiling. Next year I hope to show you how to make “snow” stars. I had a mostly naturel Christmas; though, they were LED lights.
The lessons learned? Dry the oranges before putting them on the tree (in front of the heater). Really, if you live in a moist climate…try cinnamon dough ornaments. Start making the bell garland sooner. And add some more branches to the tree (I have some ideas for next year).
The things I loved? I am going to love the clean-up! I loved the jar candles, the reusable wrapping bags, and the bell garland.