Saturday, October 25, 2014

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Those of you who follow this blog may remember how petrified I was that Matt might get called to one of the missions where you are prohibited from sending packages.  Seriously.  Well, he was called to the Washington Seattle Mission and I can breath and send him pretty much whatever he/I want to send for not very much at all...compared to some of my friends and my sister who have missionaries serving outside of the United States.  Sometimes, it is just WAY too expensive to send what you want to send AND they may or may not get it...OR it takes two or three months to get there.  Sheesh! Don't know how you momma's do it!

A dear friend of mine had a brilliant idea on how to send a Christmas tree to her son serving a mission in England.  Me?  I just mailed a pre-lit tree and a few ornaments.  Jackie?  Her's is straight from the heart.  Thanks for sharing, Jackie!

"I had this thought:  Since my son might not have a Christmas tree in his flat on his mission, I needed to come up with something that would be festive. Something that would help make his flat feel "decorated" and help bring the Christmas spirit.  PLUS, if they get little gifts and such there MUST be a tree of some sort to put the gifts around or under.  Right?

I knew it needed to be something that wouldn't weigh much and could be folded up super small. I was thinking of painting a tree onto butcher paper - easy and cheap but I didn't want it all wrinkled by the time it got to England.  Then I considered muslin - and instead found an old, white, flat sheet that would be perfect.  I considered using paint for the tree but was worried that it would peel or crack in transit.  I decided to use green fabric.

I found the shape of a tree that I liked in a coloring book and recreated it the best I could onto a piece of green fabric.  The green fabric is the ONLY thing I had to purchase, everything else I had around the house.  After I got it cut out, I laid the tree onto the sheet and using a zigzag stitch, stitched all around the tree.  I used some yellow fabric and made the star and stitched that on as well.  I used the star of David.  I had some ric rac from my grandmother and thought it would make the tree even more meaningful to my missionary because she has passed away. I went back and forth with the rick rack to represent tinsel or string to hang the ornaments on.

When I finished, I thought: "They can hang this and then they will have something to put their presents under.  Presents?!  There were NONE!  I must make some presents!"  So, the gift boxes at the bottom were an after-thought but it added a lot.  I gave the 'gifts' a button down lid and then it became the perfect place to put all the decorated ornaments.  When he received the tree, all the ornaments we sent as a family were in the gift box 'pockets.'  I went to the craft store and used their die-cut machine to punch out 100 ornaments.  I sent them to friends, cousins, and family and they decorated them with scriptures, thoughts, pictures, or notes and sent them to my missionary.  My hope was that all through the month of December he would keep getting new ornaments in the mail with fun Christmas wishes on them from family and friends.  How fun is that?!?

When I was cutting out the ornaments there was a lot of extra paper so using the die-cut machine I cut out TONS of little Christmas lights that he can add to the tree as well.  I also strung some onto string so he can hang them around the flat.

I wanted to make it as religious and Christ centered as possible, so a neighbor helped me by making the vinyl fabric lettering.  The scripture I chose was:  "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."  Luke 2:11  I placed the quote in the top left corner.

The sheet was so soft it folded really well.  It weighed about 1.2 lbs (with instructions and the paper lights) and fit perfectly into a gallon sized resealable bag which he can save and use to store the tree in until next Christmas.  Easy shipping AND storage!  I sent a small package of tiny, gold safety pins for him to use to hang the ornaments and lights on the tree. The whole project was very inexpensive to make and I mailed it in a padded envelope so it wasn't too expensive to mail either.

I hope that it helped his "home away from home" feel more like Christmas and that it gave he and his companion a tree to decorate and a place to hang their Christmas cards, etc."


The finished product!  In my son's flat in England...
along with the his birthday poster from our ward Primary.