Pandemic Christmas Tree 2020

A colorful Christmas tree that’s baby-safe! Trying out Twinkly lights!


December 25, 2020

This is the first of the planned Christmas trees I didn’t get to discuss with Yukari, and it turns out grief is good at using those kinds of things to bring you down. But it was Kenta’s second tree and the first one he was really capable of enjoying, so I was committed to making it something.

I wanted to build a tree that was eboulient, that could shout down any of the negative feelings this year and make it feel like we weren’t stuck in quarantine waiting for COVID-19 to slither past. I think I ended up with something that was sort of beautiful but maybe too close to a pride float or an acid trip? I don’t know - the presence of the pandemic and a toddler limited how much experimenting I was able to do. But the toddler seems to enjoy its splendor so I’m calling it a success.

I originally had the idea of heavily decorating the tree with flowers, but achieving the density and kinds of flowers I wanted was infeasible. Fake flowers are expensive and difficult to buy in bulk. I spent a fair amount of the year trawling Michael’s clearance flower bins for material, but there never was enough of the right kind of fake flower to get what I had in mind. Eventually, I came to a compromise and ordered a large amount of relatively uniform but multicolored fake flowers through Wish.

Wish, if you don’t know, is a place to go to get cheap things that, even at that price point you end up disapointed.

Anyway, I went about hot-glueing fake flowers to flower wire segments to make something I could suspend in the tree, and I think I’m reasonably okay with how that turned out. If you consider how many flowers are on the tree you can get a sense of just how badly burned my fingers ended up.

One big departure from the last few years is I switched to digital LED lights by Twinkly. Twinkly lights allow you to map them with your smart phone and apply dazzling patterns. If you want lights that amaze and stop working if Amazon east goes down or the manufacturer goes under, these are them lights!

The rainbow pattern is one that I liked with the flowers, and you can see it (if you support webp) in that link. None of the patterns really show up well on video - something is lost in the process. But they are quite striking in real life.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays