Our son is serving a mission for our church right now down in Brazil. We have discovered, through sad experience, that the Brazilian postal service is not exactly the most reliable. (Sorry if you are from Brazil, but we haven't had the best of luck getting our packages through to him!) Anyway, envelopes, as opposed to boxes, seem to do alright. Last Christmas I wanted him to have a little bit of Christmas cheer but had to think of something that could be sent in an envelope. I came up with a paper Christmas tree and paper ornaments. Before I sent them off, I asked friends and family to write something on the back of each ornament. As he placed the ornaments on the tree, he could read what was written and feel the love that was being sent his way. So, if you have loved ones far away, maybe this idea could bring a little bit of Christmas cheer to them also. When taken apart, it all fits into a large manilla envelope.
Here is the decorated tree.
I cut ornaments from solid and printed papers, then mixed and matched the various pieces. The ornament tops were cut from gold metallic paper.
A view of the tree before the ornaments.
Each "branch" is attached to the poster board base with stick- on velcro. I randomly placed paper brads on the branches for the ornaments to hang from. Well, maybe it wasn't completely random...I put the tree together, then placed the ornaments on top to get an idea of where they should go. I marked them with a pencil and then added the paper brads. The star was cut using a stencil and then glued to the tree top. The ornaments and branches were cut using my cricut. I have included those SCUT files at the end of the post.
A close-up of one of the branches.
I used a variety of green paper to give it some character. I chalked around the edges to add some depth.
The base was cut from poster board and taped together so that it could easily fold and fit into the envelope. I labeled each spot of velcro with a letter that matched a letter on the corresponding tree branch. I thought that would make it easier for my son to put it all together.
And, just to show you that it successfully reached Brazil...here is the photo our son sent of his tree hanging in his humble little apartment! (I just realized that the ornament at the top is the one that his girlfriend wrote on...I can tell by the extra paper that was attached to the back. Now I see where we rank as parents! That's alright, though, we love Becca. She's serving a mission also in Peru.)
I cut the ornaments and tree pieces using my cricut. I use Sure Cuts A Lot v.2. Below are the downloadable SCUT files for the branches and ornaments. If you don't have access to a personal electronic cutter and software, you could still replicate this idea by making your own templates and cutting them by hand. You might even be able to find some paper garland (I saw some garland of Christmas lights at the Dollar Tree) that could be cut apart and used as the ornaments. Good luck! I hope this brings some holiday cheer to your loved ones far away!