When Evergreens are too Precious to Cut, Why not Craft Your Own Christmas Tree?

A beaver obliged by stripping the bark from the trunk of this hand-crafted holiday tree. A drill and a few Alder branches were the only other materials required. With almost all of our Christmas ornaments in storage in Sacramento, California, we had fun hanging items on hand here in Chignik Lake. 

The few White Spruce trees around Chignik Lake are not native to the area. They were brought from Kodiak Island and are too valuable for what they add to the landscape and as refuges for birds (they love the dense cover and the cone seeds) to even contemplate cutting for use as Christmas trees. So we crafted our own tree using abundant Alders as branches and a section of a beaver-gnawed stick we’d found while out hiking.

When we lived in Shishmaref and Point Hope, we had a tree we’d crafted from driftwood from the beaches of Sarichef Island where Shishmaref is located. It was nice, but we like our new tree even better. With all the decorations from that first tree carefully packed away and put in storage when we moved to Mongolia for two years, we didn’t have much on hand when it came to decorating our Alder tree. So we used our imaginations.

An assortment of seashells, brass bells (presented to us for good luck), tiny decorative birds and carved wooden trout we’d collected on our recent bike trek in Hokkaido were rounded out with some of our more colorful salmon fishing flies. We placed our collection of Japanese glass fishing floats beneath the boughs along with a decorative lamp made from recycled glass we also sent back from Hokkaido. Two strings of fairy lights competed the decorations.

Lights on we stepped back…

…and had to agree that of all the trees we’ve put up over the years, this is our favorite.

13 thoughts on “When Evergreens are too Precious to Cut, Why not Craft Your Own Christmas Tree?

  1. What a beautiful tree! Here in Australia people buy artificial trees which keep for years. As a child, my father would chop a branch off one of our juniper trees. When we had Christmas here on the coast, he would cut a limb from a casuarina tree. What artists you are!

    • The idea for this tree just sort of came to me… and was easier to make than I thought it would be. I actually drilled a hole in the top shelf of the bookshelf where it sits and countersunk the trunk right into the hole for a tight, permanent fit. Like our previous tree, which was made from driftwood, we’ll keep this up year ’round. I bet the juniper smelled nice!

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