Minimalist Wooden Christmas Tree and DIY Ornaments

2 Materials
$5
2 Hours
Easy

There’s a minimalist current flowing through the season. Have you felt it?

We sure have. We first felt its gentle tug back in October while Handan was scrambling to get her spooky projects completed after spending months preparing for Halloween. It beckoned with a promise of less stress and more freedom. It seduced us with simplicity. We were tired, and the minimalist current offered rest. We tested its waters and took it easy on Halloween night. We put out a bowl of candy and a sign warning the little ghouls and goblins not to get greedy. They got greedy anyway, despite our admonitions. But throughout, Handan and I sat by the fire and watched a movie. Only the dogs’ barking marked the arrival of candy-grabbers on our front porch while we sat unaware, watching scary movies and eating popcorn. It was bliss, and I’m sure at least two neighborhood kids were glad of our absence this year – the two munchkins who were reduced to sniveling jelly last year after stepping onto our porch and being greeted by scary Halloween prop that screams and lunges at our visitors.

I felt equal parts pity and glee at their reactions to our spooky concierge.

No. That’s not true.

It was more like 25% pity and 75% glee

By Thanksgiving, we were caught in the minimalist slipstream, and we liked it. A lot. Thoughts of a grand and complicated turkey-based feast were quietly shelved in favor of simple steak and mashed potatoes. It was wonderful. Instead of cooking for three days and then running around like a headless chicken on Thanksgiving Day, I was able to socialize, relax and be in the moment with my family. And let’s be honest here. What would you rather stuff into your face on Thanksgiving? Dry turkey with half-congealed gravy, green bean casserole and ambrosia or a juicy steak seared over hot coals? That’s what I thought.
As we head into Christmas, stress levels at The Navage Patch are at an all-time low. There are no lights to wrestle with outside – searching for the stupid blown bulbs with frozen fingers while trying not to step on more bulbs or trip over the whole tangled mess. There are no wreaths to hang with numb hands while booted feet perch on the ice-rimed rungs of a rickety ladder.
And there is no 10-foot Christmas tree sprouting from our living room floor in the space where Handan normally crafts. No tree, so Handan doesn’t have to move her tables and carts and shelves full of paints and supplies and frames and brushes and tools and fit them into another room for the season, only to drag them all back out on December 26th.

No tree.

No branches for Handan to trim all by herself while our son plays video games and I sit on the sofa asking halfheartedly if she needs help.

No lights to wrap around the tree, again, searching for the one jerk bulb that won’t light and screws up the whole set.

And no ornaments for her to place with an engineer’s precision – a job that takes her three full nights, again, while our son plays video games and I sit on the sofa in silent guilt that I’m not helping more.

Nope. None of that.

Not this year.

This year our tree is one that Handan made last year, small and simple and perfect.

This year our gifts will be opened whenever the giver sees fit to give them. In most cases, they’ve already been opened, and they’re already being enjoyed.

This year, the Christmas meal will be simple, just like Thanksgiving. This year, we will have more time for each other.


Ah, who am I kidding, our son will just plow those extra hours into his video games!

So in the spirit of minimalism, I’ve created the ultimate minimalist Christmas tree.

It won’t be our main tree this year (that honor goes to Handan’s tree), but this is a great tree for those in small spaces or those looking to jump into the minimalist current that is sweeping the across the land (I just made that up).

*****

I used some scrap 1x4 lumber for this project. A 6-foot length would suffice to make one. Using some high school geometry that I had to pull (kicking-and-screaming) from the depths of my memory, I figured out my cut list:

19 3/16 inches
24 5/16 inches
24 inches

I made the angled cuts with a miter saw. For the complete rundown on the miter cuts, please visit the blog post, linked at the end of this post.
When all the wood was cut and mitered, I joined them together with a bead of wood glue...
And secured the joints with brad nails. The brad nails aren't strictly necessary, but they allow you to continue working without waiting for the glue to dry.
Since either my measurements or my cuts weren't perfect, I had a few small gaps showing. No problem! I fixed them real quick and easy with a simple woodworker's hack.
I made two trees and finished one with paint and one with a custom finish explained in the blog post.
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Do you like that ornament hanging from the tree? Handan DIYed a bunch of ornaments this year. That is one of them. Here is a close-up of those DIY ornaments.
They are very easy to make, and they look amazing!
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Thanks for reading!

-Greg

Suggested materials:

  • Wood
  • Wood glue

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Handan & Greg @ The Navage Patch

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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