Holiday Decorating Ideas: Christmas Terrarium

December 12, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGNER DADDY, MY INNER MARTHA

Last year about this time I was suffering from my usual Holidays Over-commitment Burnout Lethargy (or HOBL), but was determined to muster some of that elusive Xmas Spirit and do at least one creative thing. I discovered my muse in the form of a Christmas Terrarium (yes, I realize how gay that sounds) made from all sorts of “found objects” and a bit of late-night Christmas Eve gumption.

To me, the best craft/art projects are simple and straightforward, especially when it comes to Holiday decorating ideas. If I have to learn to use a soldering gun or wear protective gear or mix any kind of potion, I haven’t got the patience. The fun for me comes from the spontaneity of pulling together unrelated items, creating something new and hopefully bringing a smile to someone’s face…even if it’s just mine.

So here’s what I used (with links of where to purchase, if available)…

  • Cake pedestal: Received as a gift ages ago — we’ve used it for actual cake maybe 2 times. But it’s gorgeous as hell and was the perfect base for my Christmassy masterpiece. I couldn’t find the same one, but Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel have some nice options.
  • Miniature trees: I’ve been collecting Christmas trees for the last 15 years, but was short on the super shorties. So I hit the baking shop (cookie cutter) and toy store (model train set pine tree) to fill out my forest.
  • Paper Easter grass. Regular Easter grass was too shimmery for my taste.
  • Miniature LED lights. I snatched these up at our local hardware store even before I knew what I’d use them for. I used white, but they come in pretty much any color full-size Christmas lights do.
  • Small glass ornaments. I toyed with using white felt or something to make snow, but it just looked goofy. These kind of imply snow…or just a bunch of shiny balls. Either way, I thought it looked purty.

I know it probably looks like I just laid all this stuff on a platter and called it a day, but it did take a bit of trail-and-error (and a rum & coke or two) to get it looking magical and not monsoon-ical.

The trees are kinda flimsy, so put down lights and grass first, covering the bottom of the platter evenly. The lights come with a little battery pack, which you can hide under grass or let hang out the back. Keep the lights on while you’re arranging everything, so you don’t cover too many up. Wiggle your trees in place, pushing aside the grass and lights so they’re resting directly on the pedestal, then place the balls around to fill in the gaps. Gently put on the cover, trim off any extra grass, and voila! A Winter Wonderland Under Glass!

Helpful Hint: Wash the pedestal and cover before beginning. If you forget and get it all together, smudges will only look worse when backlit. TRUST ME, I KNOW.

tererium1

Serve covered…

tererium2

…or uncovered.

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And for the craft-averse who thinks this is WAAAYYY too precious for your cynical sensibilities, I whipped up something silly and snarky just for you…

nativity2

Okay, maybe it’s a little sacrilegious, too. Click to view detail — you know you want to.

For my Nerd Nativity™ I used a small cheese platter (again, it’s had cheese on it maybe ONCE). It didn’t work with the cover, so I hot glued a star-shaped cookie cutter to the top and put it on a red salad plate to make an even mini-er tree terrarium.

trees2

trees3

This is a great activity to do with the kids, either for putting it together or having them run all over the house looking for things to include (JJ loved dumping every last figure out of his toy box). Put them on the kitchen counter, as a Christmas dinner centerpiece or in the kids’ room as the coolest nightlight ever.

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If you try one, be sure and send me a pic and I’ll share it on the Designer Daddy Facebook Page!

Happy Crafting and Happy Holidays!

 

4 Responses to “Holiday Decorating Ideas: Christmas Terrarium”

  1. Andy Miller says:

    Brave man. Mixing the Marvel and DC universes!

    • Brent Almond says:

      LOL. I gave up my one-sided view when I became a dad. I want my son to make his OWN decisions regarding comics and superheroes. So far he’s still pretty “bi” ;)
      Brent

  2. Drew says:

    Wow, that is actually a super great idea. I don’t know if you get bonus points or minus points for having an Alf toy? Where the hell did you get Alf? And not only Alf, but Fairy Winged Flight Action Alf? FWFAA?

    I decided. Bonus points.

    • Brent Almond says:

      Ha! Alf was the only toy we didn’t already have. Found him (and the unraveled butterfly on his back) at a cake/baking shop. Aparrently at some point there was a demand for Alf cake toppers.

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