Friday, November 11, 2022

What Do You Do With Fall Clearance? Make A Pumpkin Christmas Tree!

Last weekend John and I spent a fun afternoon shopping for our local homeless resource center. Walmart has better prices than Dollar Tree on things like individually packed toothbrushes, toothpaste, and certain shampoos, so while we were there stocking up we of course detoured through the Halloween Clearance. We are only human, after all. ;)

Y'all. Y'ALL. Not only was all the Halloween stuff 75% off, so was all the Fall decor.

We were like kids in a candy store, with John whisper-screaming "GET MORE PUMPKINS THEY'RE ONLY $2" and me shoving lanterns at him to scan and cackling gleefully at the prices. We definitely drew a few concerned looks, ha.  

Even exercising extreme constraint, we came home with 9 pumpkins, 6 lanterns of varying styles, 4 boxes of string lights, and a handful of cute woodland ornaments.

I don't want to torture you too much much with our good fortune, but this plastic lantern with a battery candle inside was only $4:


And this big wooden lantern was $6:

A can of silly string had exploded all over these - probably the reason they were still there - but that scraped off easily.

Now, want to see what we did with all this?

I think you're gonna liiiiike iiiiit.


And some glowy night shots:


I've wanted to try oversized tree decor for years, and I'm officially smitten. So much easier than dozens of tiny ornaments, and a much bigger impact.

Not only is this a perfect transition tree from Fall to Christmas - and lets me keep my pretty Fall pillows and garland back here - it should also work beautifully for our Hobbit Holiday party.

I plan to add a few gold balls for shine, some twiggy stars, and cute mushroom ornaments. Anything else you think a Hobbit would decorate her tree with? (John joked about hiding a potato. Definitely doing that.)

Let's take a closer look at the lantern topper, because I'm really proud of this:

I wanted the lantern to be the exact top of the tree... but how do you attach a flat-bottomed lantern to a single spiky branch?

Like this:

We popped out the plastic candle and battery compartment, and the hole they left was perfect for slotting over the top branch.

We still wanted the candle there, though! So after a little more brainstorming, we broke off the bottom of the candle and glued the battery part back in sideways, like this:

These new candles don't use wires; the LEDs are attached to a rigid metal rod, which is why the batteries stick out:

(If you have a candle with wires, you won't have this sticking-out issue.)

By gluing the LEDs and batteries to the side, we left plenty of room for the hollow candle to slot over the top branch... and no one's gonna know:

We put the LED bar in front of the branch, too, so there aren't any shadows inside.

All LED candles are hollow, so this could be a useful tip for your own tree toppers! Imagine having a big pillar candle at the center of your bows/sprigs! Just make sure you use a candle with either a timer or remote, so you don't have to physically turn it on each night. (Ours has a timer.)

To finish off the top of the tree John made those lovely ribbon bows - after I begged him, ha. They're made of two ribbons we already had, one gold and one burlap, and go perfectly with the tree.

Of course the real magic of this tree are the twinkle lights. Here's a cruddy quality gif of how it all looks at night:

::dreamy sigh::

And a better lit gif minus the topper:

I've had these twinkle lights for at least a decade, and live in dread of the day they die. It's so hard to find a good slow twinkle setting; even these are a tiny bit fast for me. Let me know if you ever find some good twinkle options, k?

Btw, we can set up this tree in less than 10 minutes because we store it wrapped with the lights on, which is a huge sanity and time-saver each year. Bookmark my tutorial if you've never tried this, it's a game-changer.

Our twinkly pumpkin tree isn't quite finished, but I hope this gave you a cozy glow, and maybe a few ideas for your own decorations.

This has been a hectic week over here, what with the second hurricane, my parents being super sick with bronchitis (please send prayers if that's your thing; Mom has asthma and is in a bad way), plus happy things like a big reader meetup out at Disney Springs. (Hi, y'all!) I'm a bit wrung out, but this tree - and having John here to help me decorate it - has been a peaceful, twinkly balm for my soul. I'm excited to see what next week brings.

I hope you have your own twinkly moments of magic this week, my friend. Let's remember to breathe, remember to rest, remember to call our loved ones and check in. See ya back here next week.



P.S. John just busted into my office like this:


The answer is $8. Apparently he went back to Walmart, and the Fall clearance is now 90% off. NINETY PERCENT. So yeah, maybe run by your local Wal-Mart? ;)


P.S. Speaking of Hobbit-y things, I'm hoping to make some more Christmasy Hobbit door wreaths soon using my old tutorial, anyone want to join me?

This has been such a popular DIY, check it out to see all the different styles our friends made, too!


  1. First and most important - sending positive vibes and prayers to your parents. They need to get well NOW! Second - after encountering your tutorial I attest to the fact that shrink wrapping my tree has turned what used to be a sweaty, pokey process, into an unbelievably easy one, with the bonus that all the parts fit back into the original box. Third - your tree is awesome. Nicely done!

    1. Yayyy, another tree wrapper! ::fist bump:: And thanks for thinking of my folks, really appreciate that.

  2. What about owls? I absolutely love this craft and you!

    1. Yes, good idea! And with all our past Potter parties (that's fun to say fast) I have a LOT of owls, hee.

  3. I am so excited for your Hobbity holiday hoopla- I can't wait to see what amazingness you and John will create! Your autumnal Hobbit tree is already looking beautiful- some decorations that immediately come to mind and that would complement your adorable mushrooms are acorns, dried orange slices, dried flowers or clove shapes (I'm thinking traditional Austrian style). I'm currently making a Hobbit wreath based on your tutorial and having so much fun- so thank you. Sending best wishes to you and your family- I hope they feel better soon.

  4. I discovered "random sparkle" lights a few years back and they are DIVINE! And of course, they were sold out by the time I realized I hadn't bought enough. So the next year, I started searching early, only to discover they'd been discontinued. BUT, the remaining stock had been shipped to Big Lots! So I was able to buy frankly far too many new sets at a great price, but I'm set for a few years for spare strands and bulbs.

    1. That sounds *amazing* and I would have done the same! When you find lights you like, BUY THEM ALL.

  5. Oh my word, I love it so much! I'm not much of a decorator, but now I'm thinking a fall tree needs to be in my future.

  6. Storage is a continual challenge, and last week John rented a truck to haul away all sorts of big builds - like our custom bar from The Drowsy Goblin, sob - so I'm glad I wasn't awake to see it.

    The short answer is we have a large outdoor shed dedicated to big party things, like our giant fake fireplace and Tim the thestral. Most of our Christmas decor fits in a small closet in the garage, though, in large bins stacked to the ceiling. (Plus the shrink-wrapped trees on the side.)

    I'm pretty brutal in my purging each year, since every new theme means new builds and additions. So yeah, a continual challenge! I'll try to take some pics this season to show y'all how we Tetris everything in place, since I get quite a lot of folks asking about storage.

  7. OK, so, I will urge you to search for Matt Parkers Christmas tree on Youtube
    He has programmable Christmas lights, so he can get them to twinkle at any pace he wants (also, he maps the entire tree, so he can spell put letters)

  8. I think my comment got eaten. Short version: Matt Parker. YouTube. Christmas tree. Watch

  9. Good thoughts and energy out to your folks; bronchitis + asthma = SUCK (I'm prone to catching it, as was my Mom)

    Also, your husband has the calves of a ballet dancer. He must slay the runway in pumps.

    Your Pal,

    Storm the Klingon

  10. I love it all! I want to make Hobbit door wreaths, those are wonderful, but my husband is against wreaths of any kind on the door because he's worried about scratching the paint. Is there a way to ensure that doesn't happen? And virtual hugs to your parents, I especially comiserate with your mum as I have asthma and seem to get bronchitis at least once a winter (often 2 or 3 times), lots of positive thoughts to her...

    1. Glue felt to the back of your wreaths, I usually try to match the wreath or the door color.

  11. I love your pumpkin tree! It is indeed very Hobbit-y. I'm excited to see the rest of what you come up with for the party!

    I'm sorry to hear about your parents' illness; I'll be praying they feel better soon!

  12. Sending positive vibes to your parents. Love this fall tree! Well done.

  13. Well, Hobbits enjoy their ale and their pipes, so maybe small pewter steins (It comes in pints?) and small clay pipes tucked into the branches. Mushrooms are good, maybe apples, definitely a potato or two! The twinkle lights already represent their love for fireworks, so you got that covered.
    The fall tree is lovely and cheery and I wish I had room to do something like that.
    Prayers for your mom. Mine has asthma, too.

  14. Praying for your parents! They seem really cool. I loved their youtube channel they had. Wow that tree is perfect!! You guys are so creative! What a wonderful team :)

  15. Prayers for your parents. As far as the hobbit tree, maybe apples? Or carrots, as an homage to Peter Jackson?

  16. I hope your parents feel better soon! I have asthma myself and had a nasty case of bronchitis back in June with a fever of 103-104. It was brutal and I swore I had Covid. I got better but boy do I have to keep an eye on it and make sure I take my medication and inhaler daily. Your tree looks fabulous btw and I would have loved to see you guys weirding out fellow customers at the local Walmart!

  17. Love Love Love the tree!! If only I had crafting skills!! Sending your parents many get well wishes!!

  18. Seriously, how many of us are going to be ON IT when the twinkle lights come back into fashion?


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