A Very Bookish Christmas

Today I have the very special privilege to be able to share with you a glimpse of my dear friend, Nicole Valentine’s Christmas decorations for this year. Nicole is an author who holds an MFA in writing for children and is currently working on a middle grade trilogy that I may or may not have climbed a mountain to help with…literally.  She is also a tech guru and an all around amazing woman. When I saw some pictures on Facebook of how she spent her day at home with an injured back and a sick kid I almost fell off my chair. I can’t get anything nearly this amazing done at full speed! I texted her jokingly that she needed to guest post for me. She agreed to do it. More falling off chairs was done. 

Without further ado, I give you the most stunning Christmas decor of 2012.


My dear friend, Jenny has asked me to guest post on her blog today. I know she loves me and thinks I’m witty and all that, but I’m pretty sure the invite came because of my rather unique Christmas decor.

Last year I decided that holiday decor should both say something about what you love, and be comprised of what you have at the ready. I want to be economical, earth friendly and unique.

What I have a lot of is books. Lots and lots of books.

This is my Kid Lit Tree. Every book in this tree is a either a middle grade or young adult book.

I know a lot of the writers in this tree. They’ve either studied with me at Vermont College of Fine Arts, were my professors, or they worked with my company Figment.com. This is one meaningful tree. I love it.

This year I wanted to take it a step further. I didn’t want to waste money on store-bought greenery, yet I still wanted to deck the halls in style. I spent some time on Pinterest, (okay, so I spent a lot of time on Pinterest) searching for how to decorate with paperbacks. Yep, paperbacks.

I don’t normally destroy innocent books. I love books. I’m a writer. Writers have a innate sense of duty to preserve the written word at all costs. We love print. We worship at the altar of the codex. Sure, I own a Kindle and I read e-books too. If I like the book, I usually end up buying a print version of the same title (Don’t judge. It’s an addiction and there are worse vices).

I knew I’d find a book in my collection that was either so close to falling apart it wouldn’t matter… or one that deserved sweet, sweet death. Yep. You know what I’m talking about. Every once in awhile we come across a book that is so poorly written, such a waste of our time, we wonder how it got published in the first place and just what the hell to do with it. We can’t possibly let it loose back in the wild so some other poor reader will suffer the same fate. No, that would be wrong.

This is what you do with that book. Trust me, this is a far nobler death than it deserves.

All of this was made with just two paperbacks. That’s it. Two. One was a rather hefty falling apart copy of Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho and the other shall remain nameless. I got four book trees, seven feet of garland, leaves for twigs, and vase filler out of just two books AND there was still some left over.

I used twigs from the backyard and just glued some leaves to the ends. I used epsom salt to anchor the twigs in the vases. Doesn’t it look like snow?

I did not use a template to cut the leaves. I just grabbed scissors and cut out leafy shapes freehand. The leftover scraps I threw inside the vases. Leave a half inch “stem” to your leaves to easily glue them to the tips of branches. As I was making the leaves I realized you could use chapter headers and do a twelve days of Christmas theme if you so desired.

The garland looks complicated, I assure you it is not. All you do is sit down with a hated paperback and a stapler. You just staple. That’s it. Along the bottom of the pages. You grasp a page, slightly roll it and staple it to another. Over and over. Once it grew to desired length I stapled a length of twine along the bottom in case I wanted to tie it like a swag. I ended up just tacking it up there with thumbtacks.

There was no glue gun involved. That would’ve meant rummaging through house trying to find the ten year old glue gun I never use. I used my ten year old daughter’s glue stick.

Materials for Hearth:

Glue Stick
Two Paperbacks
Epsom Salt
Two Vases

For links to the tutorials and original Pinterest finds that Nicole used for her holiday decor (and other fabulous bookish finds throughout the year), you’ll want to follow her “Bookish” board on Pinterest

Here’s a closeup of one of those fabulous book trees and a new shot of the hearth with the addition of the family Christmas stockings, because it’s just so gorgeous!





A Very Bookish Christmas — 8 Comments

    • Isn’t it gorgeous?! Nicole just sent word that they won the Evernote craft a long challenge! I’m so proud, I’ll have to update this when the notice goes up!

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