Elfing the Store: Making a Book Tree

Elizabeth Bluemle - December 12, 2014

One of my favorite things to do after a busy day at the store is to lock up when everyone leaves and then get busy ‘elf’-ing the store. It’s fun to use those quiet hours to create or rearrange displays (or even whole sections of the store if I’m feeling really ambitious), tidy and straighten, making the store look festive and fresh. All of us at the store tackle different projects; booksellers PJ, Darrilyn, and Sandy often take on the windows and spiff up the front Flying Pig table. The other day, they set up staff pick books with add-on gifts: the cookbooks Prune and Twelve Recipes with little packet of page markers and recipe editor pads; The Day the Crayons Quit with a set of natural beeswax crayons; Skippyjon Jones Snow What with a little Skippyjon doll; Elizabeth Partridge’s John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth paired with a Beatles Yellow Submarine mug, and so on. It looks great and is already drawing customers’ notice. Their creativity inspired me to surprise them with a display of my own: a tree of books.
Last week, a photo of such a tree went viral on Facebook — at least among book lovers — and a friend texted me the picture and suggested we create this for the store.  Here it is:

book tree online

(I don’t have the photo source; if you know it, please alert me so I can credit properly.)

After work, I set about making a tree of our own. We have a cart of half-price hardcovers, so I pulled a bunch of those and arranged them by size and thickness. Starting with the biggest books, I built up, using smaller and smaller books as the tree grew. (It’s a little tree for our little store.) I had to cheat a little at the top, using mini books not from our cart to make the top-most layers. As I built up, I added battery-powered strings of lights that a friend had given us, and added little bows. The very top was formed by Maisy’s Christmas Tree, which had the advantage not only of being cute and a little sparkly, but being a solid board book that can stand up on its own.
Here’s how it came out:

The tree without lights on.

Book Tree 2014 Lit

Little red lights all aglow.

Book Tree 2014 Red Lights

With the store lights out, atmospheric tree.

Maybe it’s a little lopsided, and maybe it isn’t very tall, but it was so much fun to make, and boy, does it look cute when you come into the store!
What shall I elf next? Got any bookish crafts for us to try?

2 thoughts on “Elfing the Store: Making a Book Tree

  1. Kathy

    Great tree! As librarians, my mother and I were always looking for interesting book displays. One of the most successful was to display red books and green books – these are usually taken from all over the library, so the collection is quite eclectic – something for everyone! It always gets smiles and attention.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *