We’re on the small Italian island of Ischia and for nearly nine months we’ve been living with my in-laws. And in our little apartment within the house, we have three dollar-store stockings I managed to sneak into our luggage back in April and a couple of Christmas signs and a tablecloth that my mom sent from the United States. Otherwise, we’ve got nothing. My in-laws have their own traditions and their own Christmas tree in a common area of the house. But it’s not the same thing for me. I like to put out my decorations every year, and sit in the house with the Christmas lights on while I sip on hot chocolate and listen to holiday tunes or watch a holiday movie. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t satisfied.
So, I got to work. My first request was that everyone in the family turn over tubes of toilet paper after they were finished. The joke was that I wanted everyone to get a case of the runs. With 13 people in one house we found no problem getting enough tubes for both my presepio (nativity scene) and my tree (above). I know other moms who collect toilet paper tubes for projects year round, so you might already have enough. This is a great Christmas Eve project if you’re at a loss as to what to do with the kids.
Once you have the tubes, you cover them with green construction paper. I used tape to attach the paper. Then, I attached one tube to another with staples to make the rows. I used staples to attach rows as they stacked them on top of each other to build the tree. I wrapped ribbon around the tree and made a knot at the top. Then, I tied another small piece of ribbon to the knot to make the tree topper of four ribbon strands.
Originally, I wanted to put little, red glass balls in each tube for decorations. I expected to have a couple of different styles or designs in the same color. Instead, I had to settle for white styrofoam balls at the hardware/craft/everything store in Ischia. I thought I’d paint the balls but Baby Boy’s water-based paint was never going to stick. So, I just put glue on the balls, wrapped them in red tissue paper, and let them dry. Then, I placed them inside each tube with a bit of tape on the bottom to get them to stay in place. I made the base of the tree with three toilet paper tubes and then wrapped them in the same ribbon as the topper. This is our Christmas tree this year. It works perfectly because my son can’t do much damage to this one. I guess it was a blessing there were no glass balls available on the island.