This Christmas tree craft goes with the new picture book Maple & Willow’s Christmas Tree, by Lori Nichols. It can be set up as either a craft or an invitation to play.
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Maple & Willow’s Christmas Tree (affiliate) is about two sisters who get a real Christmas tree, only to discover that one of the girls is allergic to it. In the end, the non-allergic sister sweetly decorates a stepladder as a makeshift tree. This Christmas tree craft is inspired by that ending.
My Christmas Tree Story
I didn’t experience the joy and frustration of a fresh cut Christmas tree until I was a grownup. My family had an artificial one when I was a kid. So it was my first post-college roommate who talked me into getting a real tree.
The first year, it all went well, at least at first. The pine scent was amazing, and it looked gorgeous. Luckily, neither of us had any allergies.
I wasn’t crazy about all the pine needles, though. I flew to my parents’ house for less than a week, and when I returned the tree was really dried out.
Pine needles everywhere.
I knew we’d leave a trail of pine needles if we carried the tree out through the apartment to the door. So I had a brilliant idea. Well, I thought I did.
We tied a rope to the trunk, and made sure no one was below. With much effort, we shoved the tree out our 2nd floor window, and lowered it down.
At least no one got hit by a flying Christmas tree. But in shoving the tree out the window, a massive amount of pine needles sprayed all over the rug. And then the vacuum cleaner broke. Of course.
A Makeshift Tree
Fast forward a few years. I’d met my husband, and we were living on a sailboat. Yes, I’m a little unconventional. There was no room for a tree, so I put up a green fabric “tree” and decorated that. We had a lovely holiday, tree or not. I loved the simplicity of it all.
Kids’ Christmas Tree Craft
This Christmas tree craft is also simple. You just cut out a tree-shaped “ladder” from brown construction paper, and decorate it with buttons. You can give the kids glue to get a permanent craft, or follow my instructions to make it a re-usable invitation to play.
Christmas Tree Craft and Invitation to Play Materials
I had a lot of buttons left from our Very Hungry Caterpillar inspired craft. I knew when I bought them that we’d find another idea for them. I’m really in love with my little jar of buttons!
To make this craft you’ll need:
- Buttons (affiliate link to the jar I have – I also added a few other colors from my stash)
- Glue (for craft version)
- Contact Paper (for invitation to play version)
- Brown Construction paper
- White cardstock or paper
Christmas Tree Craft Instructions
1. Cut out a “ladder” tree as shown below.
2. Glue it to white paper.
3. Glue buttons or other embellishments to the tree.
Christmas Tree Invitation to Play Instructions
1. Cut out a “ladder” tree as shown above.
2. Cut out 2 squares of contact paper big enough to cover the tree.
3. Lay one square of contact paper sticky side up. Then place the tree on top of it.
4. Lay the other square of contact paper on top of the tree, also sticky side up.
5. Place on a tray as shown, and decorate. The buttons won’t slide around, but can be removed and put away at the end of play.
Now, my husband and I are settled down with a house and three kids — and an artificial tree. The fake tree doesn’t break my vacuum with dropped needles, and I don’t have to worry about it if we go out of town. I do miss that amazing pine scent. I kind of wish my kids could experience going to a Christmas tree farm and choosing a tree every year… but I also like the simplicity of having a pre-lit tree already stored away. And who knows – maybe someone is allergic. Christmas is about time spent together more than living up to an ideal.