The easiest last-minute Christmas craft: paperback book Christmas trees!

Paperback book Christmas trees.

The other day someone I follow on Instagram posted a photo of her hand with the words “Get Stuff Done!” written on it. I think that certainly sums up the mood about now, doesn’t it? We’re all in super over-drive making a list, checking it twice and wringing our hands about those packages that may or may not arrive by December 25th.

So if you don’t have time for a craft this year, I get it. Really, I do. But if you happen to have an old book on hand, one that’s falling apart, that you were never that crazy about (despite the good reviews) in the first place, the one you were going to stick in your neighborhood’s lending library box to pawn off on someone else, this is the easiest, fastest last-minute Christmas craft I can imagine. But if you don’t have the time, you can bookmark this project for next year (yuk yuk).

Begin by removing thirty pages from your book. Note: by “pages” I mean “individual sheets”. For example, if you start at page 29, don’t just add 30 to 29 and then pull pages 29 to 59. Instead, count 30 individual sheets to remove which would give you, in this example, pages 29 to 118.

If you pull the pages ever so gently, you may be lucky enough to keep the spine intact. If this doesn’t work for you (it didn’t for me), you can run a bead of hot glue along the ripped edge of the pages to create a new sort of spine. Tip: while the line of glue is still hot, you can use a disposable plastic knife like a trowel to smooth the glue and further press it into the edges of the ripped pages to help hold them together. You can see my bead of glue running down the left side of the pages in the photo below.

Page from a book.

Now fold the top corner of the first page halfway down, towards the spine.

Showing how to make a paperback book Christmas tree craft.

Fold that fold in towards the spine as though you were going to make a paper airplane.

Showing how to make a paperback book Christmas tree craft.

Take the edge where the folded paper extends beyond the bottom of the book and tuck it under.

Folding book pages to make a paperback book Christmas tree craft.

Then press it flat so it’s flush with the bottom of your book. Now repeat this for all 30 pages. It should take 5 to 10 minutes depending on how many cups of coffee you’re guzzling to make it through your To Do List.

Folding book pages to make a paperback book Christmas tree craft.

Before your very eyes the thirty pages will be magically transformed into the shape of a conical tree. Flush and flare the pages, set it upright and, ta da, you’ve made a paperback book Christmas tree in under ten minutes!

Folding book pages to make a paperback book Christmas tree craft.

To create a topper, I hot-glued a tiny pine cone from our redwood tree on top. Fun fact: they’re one of the smallest pine cones from one of the largest species of pine trees. But a mini Christmas ornament, star, or jingle bell, would also work.

Multiple paperback book Christmas trees sitting on a credenza.

I placed a few paperback book Christmas trees in our living room, but they’d also make a nice homespun gift to set atop a wrapped present.

Multiple paperback book Christmas trees and rattan lanterns sitting on a Mid-Century Modern credenza. Black and white Hawaii mural in background.

Speaking of homespun, dried orange slices might be the second easiest Christmas craft! Simply slice your oranges into 1/4″ thick slices, set them on a baking rack (baking racks work better, in this case, than cookie sheets because the perforations allow greater air flow, reducing the drying time, and prevent the slices from sticking). Pop them into a preheated oven set at 200 degrees Fahrenheit and start working on all the other things on your To Do list because they take forever (3 1 2/ hours in our case!) to dry–but during that time your house will have a lovely citrus scent.

Note: to store them, I place them in a Ziploc bag with a desiccant packet (one of those moisture-absorbing packets of silica you’ll often find tucked inside a something you’ve had shipped–they reduce moisture which can prevent the item from becoming moldy during transport overseas). Warning: Do NOT use a desiccant packet around anything you plan to ingest–this idea is only for slices that will be used solely for decorative purposes!

Orange slices on baking rack to make dried orange slices.

When they’re finished you can thread them with twine to turn them into ornaments (I added a bunch to our tree and when the sun shines through them they make me think of stained glass!), tie them to packages, line them around the inside of a glass hurricane and place a ivory colored pillar candle inside or….

Dried orange slices in closeup of Christmas tree.

decorate your dessert cart. Dessert cart?

Did somebody say dessert cart?

Rattan bar cart being used as a dessert cart. There is a rattan tray on top of the rattan dessert cart, a paperback Christmas tree, sprigs of pine and bowls of candy.

I bought this rattan bar dessert cart online last week when 1) I saw it was rattan (I seem to have a fetish) and 2) I had the sudden fantasy of just after dinner, when all the plates are cleared, I roll this cart up to the table and say, “These are the desserts I’m offering tonight. Please take your pick.” I don’t know why this struck me as such a brilliant idea, but it did. I tried it after Sunday dinner and no one seemed as tickled as I was, but I was tickled enough for everyone (all four of us that is, as my mom was our socially-distanced dinner guest) and I stand behind my impulse buy. 🙂

Truly, there was something thrilling about rolling out a cart filled with desserts. And if the excitement ever wears off, we can always use it as it was intended and offer spirits instead of sweets.

A rattan bar cart being used as a dessert cart. In background is modern dining table with conical Christmas trees running down center.

There you have it–the easiest last minute Christmas craft, orange slices to decorate your tree, your packages, and your dessert cart–and a present you can gift yourself (a dessert cart) if you’re as rabid about rattan as I am!

Happy holidays from our family to yours! Yes, we succumbed and bought matching pajamas this year. I know it’s kind of obnoxious and we’re now “those” people, but they’re really comfy pajamas and, what the heck, it’s the holidays–or it better be or I should take those ridiculous antlers off my head!

Mom, dad and son wearing red and black buffalo check matching family pajamas. Mom is wearing reindeer antlers. Mat

Thanks for stopping by!

Mom holding son in matching family pajamas. Mom wearing reindeer antler headband.

Now I won’t keep you second more so you can get back to your To Do list and “Get Things Done!”

Stay safe, be well, and here’s hoping your Christmas is merry and bright!

Wishing you the happiest of holidays!

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