Thanksgiving is just two weeks away—better start basting that turkey!—and Christmas is hot on its heels. Because you’ve probably already made your gift list and checked it twice (if not, we can help with that), now is the time to turn your attention to what really matters: holiday decorating! Here in Bas Bleu’s Bluestocking Salon, we believe books make everything better. Why not your holiday décor? In keeping with the spirit of life as bibliophiles, we’ve rustled up several festive craft projects that are sure to add a literary flair to your seasonal celebrations!
(As per usual, a disclosure: We gleaned most of these ideas from a variety of blogs and websites. So while we’d love to take the credit when your guests delight in your literary decorations, we must give credit where credit is due and so have linked to the original sites when possible.)
The beauty of Halloween and Thanksgiving being just a month apart is that they share a decorating motif: pumpkins! But instead of taking a knife to your gourds, may we suggest a pot of glue? Better yet, let the real pumpkins continue brightening up your front porch and use foam or plastic ones for this bountiful centerpiece.
If you’re brave enough to work from scratch (or if you’re less dangerous than we are with an X-Acto™ knife) try these crafty beauties on for size.
Now, if your blood curdles even thinking about defacing the pages of a book, we recommend using volumes bound for the recycling bin or (gasp!) the dumpster: novels with torn, stained covers or missing pages; out-of-date encyclopedias, dictionaries, or textbooks; even old phone books can offer a wealth of material for these bookish craft projects, but without massacring a text that someone else could be reading.
Bookish Christmas Trees
We love a big green Christmas tree like nobody’s business, but if you’re in search of an alternative this year—for your office, classroom, or if you won’t be home enough to water that live fir—we’ve found several clever and attractive options made from (what else?) books!
First up: The cutest little book tree we ever did see! And talk about affordable: Simply unload your bookshelves, remove the covers from your hardback books, and arrange them in a stack of overlapping, ever-decreasing rings to create the cone shape. Next, gently wind a strand or two of Christmas lights (we think the large ones used here are perfect) around the stack. If you like, finish it off with a tree topper.
The same idea works for this tabletop tree. You don’t necessarily have to use small books, just fewer of them. This clever crafter made her tree centerpiece-worthy by perching it atop a pretty cake stand and sprinkling faux snow over it.
If you don’t want to use so many books, or if you’d like to incorporate paperbacks into the mix, try this book tree on for size. We don’t recommend this design for books with delicate spines, but it’s another great tabletop option. We especially like how the artist hung tiny book ornaments from the strand of lights. Where can you buy tiny book ornaments? Hmm, I wonder…
We found the photo of this clever tree o’books on the Tumblr page of author Laurie Halse Anderson, whose outstanding books are a fixture on young-adult reading lists across the nation. She in turn shared this photo from a librarian in Palm Springs. It’s a great idea, but probably easier to do when you have access to a large collection featuring plenty of books bound in green.
If you don’t celebrate Christmas or you’re hunting for literary decorations that will carry you through the winter months as well as the holiday season, try your hand at creating this well-read snowman who never melts! And if you can get your hands on a pile of tattered pocket paperbacks, you can build him some friends. Bonus: Now you have a use for all those empty k-cups from your coffee maker.
Another Bookish Advent Calendar