Decorating Our Mini Tabletop Tree & Making A Window Banner

There are a few more holiday projects going on (aka: getting crossed off the list – woot!) so let’s get right into it. Last year I grabbed four of these 3-packs of white felt tree ornaments from Target. I picked them up about a week after Christmas when they were marked down to ten cents per set instead of a dollar, which meant that in total I had 12 mini felt trees for 40 cents. They seemed kinda perfect to make a casual little banner that looks like hand-cut paper but is actually felt that I didn’t have to cut (which is win/win). Sidenote: this is my hand but it looks so much like John’s that it’s scary. Are we becoming one person? Can that happen? Should the person that we’re morphing into be called Shon or Jerry?

Anyway, next I grabbed a random ribbon remnant from the box of leftover ribbon in the closet that I recycle for gift wrapping and laid it out on the floor with my little trees under it to see the spacing. You can see that they had little gold strings around the top of them for hanging, so I just clipped those off.

Then I grabbed 12 paperclips from the office supply drawer. Bada bing, bada boom. Sure, I could’ve sewed them each in place or used smaller/cuter clips (like mini clothespins or something) but I didn’t want to be fussy about it and just wanted to make the window look festive using things we already had around the house. Call me crazy but there’s something deliciously casual and sweet about white felt trees, navy ribbon, and little silver paperclips. But if you’re feeling fancy you could get cute binder clips or teeny tiny clothespins instead.

Behold… another mini tree!

Yup, our tabletop tree is ba-aaack! You can check out last year’s mini tree here (and the 38 homemade ornaments that I whipped up for last year’s Pinterest Challenge). Or you can just feast your eyes on this year’s beauty. Oh but don’t mind that mangled little gray pashmina I tossed under it for the time being (I think using some sort of silver faux fur could be awesome).

As for the ornaments the only theme is: meaningful, sweet, handmade, and treasured. Basically in the words of Clara, it’s full of our “special special favorites.”

We piled on a ton of ornaments that we love love love – whether they were from a local craft fair – like the Virginia ornament below – or even from a few amazingly crafty readers at book tour stops, like this sweet one with Clara’s baby silhouette…

Look at this fun felt YHL one that someone else made for us at another book tour stop. So cute, right? And in the background above it you can see John’s bike ornament that I got him last year and an old disco ball from Target over five years ago (along with a small brass french horn, which is what John played in high school band – mah man).

This odd little moose-related ornament might be our favorite. It’s two freshly wedded moose snuggling up to each other. We picked it up on Alaska on our honeymoon. Cue the collective moose aww.

Another favorite is this burger one that we bought in honor of none other than the Burg-meister a few years back. And check out that cute felt owl above it (another reader-made ornament from one of our tour stops- have I mentioned how crafty you guys are?!).

Basically it’s a tree full of awesomely mismatched and meaningful treasures. You can see that our homemade antlers, spray painted animals, & glass bulbs full of brightly colored paint still have a spot up there, they just get to be surrounded by everything from preserved gingerbread cookies to an old empire state building ornament that reminds us of our time spent in NY where we met back in 2005.

And of course we had to bring our new DIYed chalkboard into the festivities, so John faced his chalk-is-screechy fears and made a little Starbucks-ish drawing, complete with a snowman (he dipped the chalk in water before writing, which you guys suggested for vibrant colors and less chill-inducing screechiness – which seemed to work well, especially with the colored chalk). You might have seen it on instagram last week. I added some snowflakes and then Clara got to work drawing “a pretty rainbow for Santa.” The family that chalks together stays together.

Now this formerly un-festive corner makes me straight up jolly.

Oh and in the spirit of holiday updates, here’s how the little ornaments that I glued to magnets are now faring with three holidays cards up there to keep them company. I’m happy to report that they still look just as cute as they did without cards. And since we snapped this pic yesterday afternoon three more cards came. Woot! I love finding them in the mailbox. #cardnerd

Oh and check out this amaaazing advent calendar we got from our friends the Pohls in Germany (their three year old daughter named Clara is our Clara’s penpal – more on that here). They sent this traditional German advent calendar where you unwrap each envelope or box to find little treats like a tiny doll, candy, stickers, even a small package of colorful tissues. So far Clara has been having a blast opening one thing per day.

So there you have our holiday updates.

  • set up the big tree (gradient, baby!)
  • get a live tabletop tree again (like we did last year)
  • decorate the mantel, the built-ins, and the entryway console
  • hang our outside lights & decorate the front porch
  • shoot a Christmas picture of Clara & Burger for our annual holiday card 
  • make an advent calendar for Clara? Ahh I’m behind already!
  • shop for slash make all the gifts on our Christmas list (I’m about 90% done, can’t wait to cross this sucker off!)

We still haven’t hung any lights out front (ack!) or finished all of our Christmas shopping/wrapping, but maybe this weekend we’ll get there. What’s left on your Christmas to-do list? What have you euphorically crossed off already? Is it not amazing to drag a pen across things that you’ve completed? Maybe I need List-Crossers Anonymous. Anyone else having fun with a tabletop tree, homemade banners, or anything else that feels sweetly handmade? Spill the holiday beans.


  1. Brenda says

    I love that your little tree is full of the special ornaments! I love my big, decorated tree, but once I have my own family (especially kids) I want a separate tree for all the handmade stuff. I helped my mom decorate their tree, and it was so much fun seeing ornaments from my childhood. One of my favorites is seeing a pretty ornament, then seeing my attempt when I was younger, like in this example:

  2. says

    So fun! I love the mini tree. I am also giggling a little bit about how many questions you are getting in the comment section about your table and chairs the mini-tree is on. I guess even glitzy Christmas trees can’t take your mind off some good looking furniture! I just posted about my Christmas decorations…and I think I need to cross off putting up Christmas trees sooner. We have FOUR!

  3. Leah says

    Hi Jerry!
    I have those same white ornaments on my tree (along with red felt hearts and green felt trees) because my insane 1 year old cat insists on climbing the tree and I’m afraid she will knock the whole thing over and break my special ornaments. Yay Target for having cute, cheap, non-smashable ornaments! And fingers crossed that Olive will be mature enough to ignore the tree, like my sweet 13 year old cat and well behaved chihuahua, next year.

  4. says

    Super cute idea with the tree garland. I bought the same little trees for 10 cents last year and I just (today!) added them to teacher gifts for my girls’ extra teachers (PE, Art, Music, etc.). Love opening up all of my fun bargain finds from the previous years’ sales.

  5. Suzy B says

    Love the cute banner and mini tree. The ornament collection is so special as it represents each member of the fam.
    I have a quick question – getting ready to use chalk board paint in my daughter’s room. Unfortunately, it is carpeted. Do you know what I can place on the carpet under that large wall to catch all the chalk and keep from getting it all over the carpet? I was thinking of trying the stuff movers use to protect carpet.

    • says

      Hmm, that’s a great question! Does anyone have suggestions for Suzy? Maybe a long runner you can place there in a dark color to catch the dust and then be tossed into the wash?


    • says

      Those look awesome except beware of them leaving marks (we hear if you don’t erase them regularly they can “ghost” and leave lines on your board permanently. That’s why we’re afraid to try them :)


  6. melissa says

    Oh my gosh I grabbed a TON of those trees last year, I have them in several colors and was trying to decide what to do with them. This will be perfect for our cookie swap Saturday!!! Thank you.

    All our ornaments are unique, lots of glass, even one that was my great, great, great grandma’s and is real mercury glass, to hand made from our daughter. Do you have a pickle ornament on your tree? That’s always been fun, who can find the pickle first. Mom had a big one and a tiny one.

  7. Erika says

    How sweet that Clara sent Clara an advent calendar!! Any chance you could share with us what she gets each day? I love stuff like that!

    • says

      Let’s see, so far she has gotten an iron on shirt decal, a lollypop, a pack of tissues, a tiny fairy doll, a chocolate egg, oh man I’m forgetting! They’re so sweet! Clara loves it!!


    • says

      Yesterday she got a pair of socks that she loved and the day before it was a tiny toy penguin! They’re just sweet little trinkets and a few functional things (like socks, a packet of tissues, etc).


  8. Courtney says

    Oh yay! Bonding moment! I bought 10 packs of those mini-trees from Tar-jay last year. I’m attaching them to goody boxes and gifts, but the garland is a great idea! I think I have enough… ahem…

    Love the mini tree- what a fun idea.

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