How we made our flat Christmas treeI always liked a fat and jolly, real Christmas tree. Height was important but not nearly so much as girth; I wanted a full tree that ever so gradually narrowed toward the angel at the top. Loft living changed my idea of the perfect tree. It inspired us to create a two-inch thick, FLAT tree. I’m in love with it, although not nearly as much as the memory of making it.

We like our loft and have maximized every inch of space, from floor to soaring ceilings. Even with inventive use of space (using unreachable ceiling beams as bookshelves for books long ago read), the loft move was still a serious downsize. Adding a temporary “plant” might have required sleeping with it, had we not concocted this scheme to accommodate beloved ornaments (a euphemism for fond memories). The windows were the only space available to us.

Frankly, I don’t recall exactly how we came up with the idea other than to report that one of us offhandedly remarked, “What we need is a flat tree.” As my husband and I so often do, we engaged in a Mimosa, or wine-fueled brain storm that more closely resembled a sprinkling of one goofy idea that fertilizes another until the front moves on. At times, laughing gets in the wonderful way.

The 22-foot flat tree is nothing more than garland strands tirelessly woven together over a couple of days and adhered to the window with hidden suction cups. Of course, we miss the real thing, the shelling out of a hundred bucks or more, the pine needles everywhere, and the strapping on to the car. Actually, we do miss the scent, but at least this version allows a one-dimensional view of all the memories and a lovely, unexpectedly bright spot when viewing it from the park below.

We now refer to trimming our flat tree as “rolling out the tree,” since it does exactly that: rolls out as a tree and rolls back up into a jelly-roll tree fit for storage. Yes, we take the ornaments off first, but not the lights, which is especially handy since the de-tangling of lights, as we all know, is less than no fun at all. This year, we’re even thinking of resorting to flat presents for all.

Mom's Fireplace
My mom created a fireplace, replete with hearth, out of a desk and brick patterned paper.

In a similar vein as the flat tree, my mother, who was exceptional at creating bright spots from unusual sources, created a fabulous faux fireplace when my brother and sister and I were kids. We were living on Okinawa, where I was pretty sure Santa would not find us. Mom created a fireplace, replete with hearth, out of a desk and brick patterned paper. She hung our stockings there and even Santa fell for it.

In a shrinking world, (or as Tom Friedman says, “The World is Flat”), the flat tree could save a few Fraser firs and light up some vertically challenged domains with joy. Trust me, Santa has fallen for it before.


Note: Anyone wishing to buy this Flat Christmas Tree idea or invest in creating it for production in time for next season, should contact me at: [email protected]

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Terri Evans

Terri Evans

Terri Evans is 25+year marketing communications professional, a partner at LeslieEvansCreative and Bcauz marketing (cause-related). She has been a food columnist for Atlanta Intown and Atlanta Buckhead newspapers, and a contributing writer for Georgia Magazine, the Atlanta Business Chronicle and other publications. Evans was also a finalist in a Southern Living cooking competition. She is (and has long been) at work on a novel set in the South (of Georgia) and the South (of France). She's always cookin' up somethin'.