A Home Craft Christmas Tree

By , November 23, 2012

As is our tradition, the Zeiger Family Homestead Christmas season began Friday morning.This year, however, Michelle and I undertook a project that brought Christmas to the homestead a couple of weeks early.

Homestead craft Christmas tree for Haines library

Our auction tree for the library. Michelle reassembled it in town, and added a homemade garland (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

The Haines Public Library holds a major fundraiser each year on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Their “Lighting of the Library” celebration pretty much ushers in Haines’s Christmas season. Staff and an army of volunteers place a huge Christmas tree in the meeting room, decorate it and the rest of the library, and present it to the public with a big holiday party. As a fund raiser, it’s traditionally a ticketed event, but this year it’s an open house.

The party always includes a silent Christmas tree auction. The library provides 2-foot artificial trees to volunteering local businesses, civic organizations, and other groups, which they decorate for the auction. These are a great way to advertise. The local hardware stores may hang tools on their tree; a local sporting goods store might hang fishing lures. Each tree has a cash value, and a suggested starting bid. All proceeds benefit the library.

We have never attended a Lighting of the Library before, so we’ve never seen the auction. But, this year Michelle helped a group at her work to decorate a tree, and she and I decided to try decorating one of our own.

I didn’t really “get” the concept, having never seen the trees. But, once Michelle explained the promotional nature of the activity, we started looking at all the things we make here on the homestead, and the ideas began to come thick and fast.

Our finished tree features a great mix of personal and professional creations, including:

When we started, we worried we wouldn’t have enough stuff!

Of course, I wish we could have included more. We almost added a little log cabin incense burner (with homemade incense cones) like the ones we made for family, Christmas 2006. It was our last one, so we decided not to part with it. I really wanted to figure out a way to work in a toy trebuchet like the one I made Aly for Christmas 2008, but I didn’t have time to make one, nor could I give it the proper seasonal spin (“Nothing says ‘Merry Christmas’ like a medieval siege engine!”). We almost included a copy of the homestead version of Clement C. Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas that we wrote and illustrated for family one year, but we couldn’t get it into the tree properly. And, my idea to include small bottles of homemade wine and coffee liqueur didn’t get past Michelle (it’s a family event, after all, and children do buy some of the trees).

At any rate, we were pretty pleased with the result. Decorating the tree with homecrafted items showed us that we really do make a wide range of goods for personal use and sale, and that they do have value.

It’s hard to put a price on everything, but we figure a reasonable cash value is about $240! Library staff will set a starting bid—I can’t guess what that might be. It’s a bit scary “putting ourselves out there” like that, but then, I’ve always sucked at self-promotion. Can’t wait for Saturday (3-5 p.m.) to find out if it gets any bids!

5 Responses to “A Home Craft Christmas Tree”

  1. BW says:

    “Nothing says ‘Merry Christmas’ like a medieval siege engine!” belongs on a t-shirt! I hope your tree does well. 🙂

  2. Wendy says:

    I have been ‘lurking’ on your blog for a few weeks now, and I love it. We have gotten several ideas off of your pages. We have found a piece of property in the Anderson area, and will be purchasing it hopefully this week. I decided to start a blog to communicate with our family, friends, and whoever else might be interested, what is going on with our lives. I wanted to put a link on my blog to your site, would you do the same? Anyway, thankyou for sharing your lives with us, I do enjoy it.

  3. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Wendy, I just checked out your blog. You’ll have your work cut out for you in Anderson, particularly if you’re moving up there this winter.

    I”m going to be making adjustments to my link list soon, and I’ll add your blog then.

    Best of luck!


  4. Wendy says:

    no, we will not be going this winter, we will be moving up there sometime in April. which, we will still have our work cut out for us then. we are really getting excited though.

  5. Mark Zeiger says:

    Glad to hear that. It could be done, but it would not be comfortable!

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