How to Make a Bookworm Christmas Tree

Don’t like the fuss and mess of a real or even a fake Christmas tree? Have a ton of books and a sincere love of the written word? If you're either faced with the holidays without a tree, or want to do something a little different, consider creating a bookworm-inspired Christmas tree using dozens of your favorite literary works.


  1. Image titled Make a Bookworm Christmas Tree Step 1
    Locate dozens of books. If you are going to do this right, you’ll need to find books that not only have meaning but also come in a variety of shapes and sizes in order to effectively create a tree look. Depending the height you'd like for your tree, you may need several dozen books. While you can source them from your own bookshelf, if you don't have enough, visit the local thrift stores, auction houses that sell boxes of books for next-to-nothing and secondhand book stores. You can also raid the shelves of friends and family if they're willing. When selecting books, keep in mind:
    • The colors. If you're wanting the tree to reflect Christmas colors, you'll need to focus most on books with red, green, white, gold, silver, etc. covers, or focus mainly on darker, more elegant colors for the mix. Alternatively, go for an eclectic mix or stick to just one style of book, such as old Penguin classics.
    • Consider the girth. You'll want decent, heavyweight books for the base, gradually going up to lighter books at the top. Keep the Bibles, encyclopedias and dictionaries for the base and the paperbacks for the top.
    • It's nice to get a good mix of paperbacks and hardcover books.
    • Choose books in good condition on the whole. While a few tatty ones here and there won't be too distracting, if you have a lot, it'll look just shabby and probably not too chic. Any book that threatens to be unstable because it's back stitching is loose or the spine wobbles, should be left out of consideration.
    • Consider covering some of the books with paper or even printed book covers if you want to maintain a semblance of a color theme.
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    Choose the lights for the bookworm Christmas tree. For this purpose, bigger bulbs are best, so that they're not swamped by all the books. Even an old-school outdoor light set won't be pushing things too far. Compare the lights to the books you've chosen; if you have several colorful books, you may want to use a string of white lights instead of multi-colored ones.
    • If the lights won't fit all the way, use more than one set of lights. Simply attach additional strands at the points provided on the light cords.
    • Check that all the lights are in working order before you use them.
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    Decide where to place the bookworm tree. As with the standard Christmas tree, a corner of the room where you're holding all the celebrations is the best choice for setting up the bookworm Christmas tree. Check that the floor is even and non-slippery. If it is slippery, place down some non-slip mats first, available from dollar stores, bathroom stores, and the like.
    • Check that there is nothing fragile or likely to stick into the tree. While the aim is to make as stable a structure as possible, should it topple, you don't want to damage items around it.
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    Create the base of the bookworm tree. Begin with the largest, heaviest books first. Create a circle with them on the floor spot set aside for the bookworm tree. Check that they're sitting firmly and won't slide.
    • Use as many books as possible to create the solid base. This is the largest section of the tree and will bear all the weight.
    • The size of this circle determines the size of the tree. Adjust if it looks like it will turn out too small or too large.
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    Add the next layer. The trick to creating the "tree-like" formation of the bookworm tree is to align the books so that they have their spine facing outward with their spine edges jutting out. Each book layer on the lower levels needs to use the layer underneath for support, which means that there will be a gap under the middle section of each book, while its edges sit on two books underneath, all the way around each circle. However, as you go higher, there will be less and less gaps, as the circles get closer together, so just focus on keeping the book ends jutting out adequately to resemble tree branches. It's very much like building with Jenga blocks!
    • At all times of building the layers, keep an eye on stability. Gently push against the tree structure to ensure that it isn't going to topple but sits firmly. A tiny bit of sway is okay but anything more should be a warning signal.
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    As you near the top of the bookworm Christmas tree, the books may benefit from being placed one on top of the other, discontinuing the circles. A few heavier, larger books can be aligned at the top to finish off the look. Whether or not this works for your tree will depend on its size and how evenly you've added the book circles.
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    Add the lights. There are two approaches to adding the lights:
    • Feed the lights in as you build the tree. The advantage of doing this is the the cords are firmly inserted into the tree and won't fall off. The disadvantage is that they may get in the way of what you're doing, they may create instability if they don't sit flat enough and they may get broken if your work topples at any stage of construction.
    • Wrap the lights around the finished bookworm Christmas tree. The advantages to doing this is that it's a lot easier. The disadvantage may be that it's harder to keep them in place but with the use of hooks, tape, string, etc., it shouldn't be too hard.
    • Make sure that the light bulbs all face outward.
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    Finish the top of the tree. While this part is totally up to your imagination, here are some ideas:
    • Place an upright book standing and slightly open. Perhaps choose a small Bible or a book with a Christmas theme. If you're feeling cheeky, use a book that talks about the perils of Christmas, such as anthologies about bad Christmas experiences, or the Worst Case Scenario Christmas book!
    • Add a traditional tree-topper. If you have a star or angel stand it on top of the final book for fun.
    • Place your “favorite” toy on top. Whether it’s your dog’s favorite toy or it’s a desk jockey you find hilarious, use that for your tree topper.
    • Use the tree top to hold a candy dish. Candy canes anyone? Or you can place a platter of cookies for Santa on top of your book tree.
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  • Add a few lightweight Christmas ornaments by hanging them on the light string wire.
  • If you own enough books about the holidays, consider using as many Christmas books in your tree as possible.


  • Avoid a fire hazard––don’t leave your lights on when you're sleeping or away from home.
  • If you have any concerns that the tree might topple, rebuild it. It is also a very good idea to keep children and pets well away from it, even going so far as to build a little barrier like a tiny picket fence around it, to keep small beings away.

Things You'll Need

  • As many books as you can find
  • Several strings of Christmas lights
  • A roll of duct tape (preferably red or green)

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