Our Daily Thread Thrift Store receives a large amount of donated books and it occurred to the volunteers at the store that a Christmas tree made from books might be a nice way to recognize the donors and to say thanks!
The challenges would be to make it stable, not damage the books and of course, make it look like a tree. Donors, store volunteers, and folks from HOPE Warehouse and Chesapeake Church of Christ joined the team to make it happen!
For two weeks they sorted through some 600 books according to size, thickness and shape. Each layer had to be precisely the same thickness. They did a trial run by building a tree off-site. Starting with the largest books on the bottom, layer by layer they began to build the tree, checking each layer with a level. If one book was not the correct thickness, the problem would compound itself as more layers were added. Completed, it was 8’2” tall, 70+ layers and a total of about 300 books. It was now time to disassemble it for transport to the store.
Starting at the top the ‘Book Tree’ was disassembled book by book, layer by layer. Each layer was color coded and photographed to provide a road map for reassembly. Then came the FUN part!!
Reassembly started after the store closed on a Saturday at 4pm on a 48” diameter base one foot off the floor. The level of each layer was carefully checked. It took time and went according to plan. That is until Sunday evening. All of a sudden layers near the top were not level for no apparent reason. Late and tired was not a good time to tackle such a problem. Returning to the store at 4:30 am Monday, book by book the top third of the tree was taken apart by the team. Finally, the problem was discovered, it was compression. The weight of the books on the top third changed the thickness of one book a third of the way down!
With the problem fixed, the tree was back together and finished with a treetop decoration, LED lights and ornaments. It took 16 hours to reassemble and decorate. The final tree now stands 9’ 5” tall with 56 layers and 250+ books. Total project time, who knows? And yes, there are a few building tricks that will remain secret.
Customers of course ask if they can have this book or that ornament. Yes, when they take it down after Christmas!
The real story here are the donors and customers that make Haven Ministries’ mission possible: to provide shelter, food, clothing, support, and most of all HOPE to the Queen Anne Co. neighbors that need a helping hand. Thanks to everyone involved for making their Christmas Merry!