It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...

As my holiday planning began a few weeks ago, it became very obvious that a traditional Christmas tree wasn't going to happen this year.  With a very precocious toddler in the house, nothing is safe.  He frequently carries large objects from room to room, and has a super secret hiding spot we haven't been able to locate.  I could only imagine E pulling a live tree down on top of him, or better yet, relocating the ornaments to the water-filled stand.

However, I'm not willing to forgo a tree altogether.  So after trolling Pinterest for a while (which, by the way, is my new obsession), I came across a beautiful, inexpensive, and relatively child-friendly "tree substitute".  I figure people will say, "Oh!  That's so neat!  How did you do it?"  As a preemptive strike, I've decided to write this short tutorial so you can replicate my tomato cage tree substitute. I refuse to call this a tree because, well, it's just not one.

Step 1: Procure a tomato cage from your friendly local hardware or garden supply store.  (Did you know they come in different sizes?  I didn't, but POSSLQ discovered that fact today at the store.)  Place the cage on your chosen surface, and begin wrapping it with medium gauge wire. I used 20 gauge, because that's what I had on hand.  The wire could be skipped, but I wanted sturdy places to hang ornaments.

Step 2:  Take a picture of the finished wire wrapping.  Look back at your first picture and realize the curtain is in dire need of a washing.  (That's what happens when it rains and the window is open).   

Step 3:  Begin wrapping your cage in lights.  I used white wire, clear lights, but really anything will work.  Use your imagination.  I used 400 lights (4 strands) on a medium cage.  I wanted mine to be dense.  

Step 4:  Finished lights.  Actually, this is only three strands.  I found the last strand after I finished decorating, and went back in to add more lights.  Admire my super adorable tree substitute-decorating helper.  

Step 5:  Add decorations.  I have this rustic, fabric and fiber centered decorating theme going on, so I made some rag garland for my tree substitute.  Then I sorted through our ornaments and only picked out sturdy ones I didn't mind if E carries around.  E spent five minutes trying to hang an ornament, but he didn't quite understand how it worked.  He just kept putting it near the tree and letting go.  It was really cute. 

Step 6:  Steam your freshly washed curtain, trim as desired, stand back and enjoy.


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