Nearly a decade ago, I began collecting ornaments for my Christmas tree as I found ones I liked along my travels. It started out as a fairly sporadic collection, but over time has turned into something I seek out in every new country, adding a few new ones to hang on my tree each year.
For the first time in years, I didn’t have a new one to add to my tree, but I still got to enjoy all the memories of my past travels as I hung these beautiful ornaments on my ‘Travel Tree’.
My travels this year have looked very different—mainly just around my house. As both a travel addict and a flight attendant, being home for this long has been very strange for me, and while I’ve got lots of cleaning and reading done, one of my main outlets has been crafting.
I’ve always been a creative person, and while I usually lean towards music and drama, this year has allowed me to really spend some time exploring my visual arts side by painting, crocheting and using my Cricut on an almost daily basis. At this rate, I’m going to come out of Covid-19 with a craft emporium in my house!
Now that we are into December and Christmas is just around the corner, my latest craft helped me bring some travel memories and the illusion of being at the beach into my home in Canada, where outside there is now over a foot of snow.
I’ve been collecting a few shells from all the beaches I’ve been to around the world, and now have quite a large collection. I figured maybe I could use them to create some kind of beachy Christmas tree, so the Sparkling Seashell Tree was born!
Something for your tree topper. (I used a resin starfish I had ordered from Amazon)
Turquoise glitter paint
I glued the shells on starting with the larger ones and then filling in gaps with the smaller shells. I chose to use mainly white shells to cover the green floral cone and then filled in the gaps with a mix of small, colourful shells and uniquely shaped shells to give the tree some colour and make it look like ornaments. This part took far longer than I thought it would…although this could also be because I was watching Hallmark Christmas movies as I was crafting and kept getting distracted!
For years now, I’ve gotten into the habit of writing where I got each shell on the back (using the airport codes for the tiny shells), so it was fun to look at them and reminisce about my travels as I was gluing them on. I found shells from Costa Rica, Panama, various places around Mexico, Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, Antigua, St. Lucia, Kenya, Portugal, Florida and more.
Once they were all attached, I painted two of my turquoise resin starfish with glitter paint, glued them together and placed them at the top of the tree. Then I finished it off by adding some turquoise glitter paint to some of the white shells spaced out around the tree to add a bit of sparkle.
And voilà! — I had a beautiful Seashell Tree to add a little warmth to this 2020 holiday season!
Over the years, when I found Christmas tree ornaments that I liked on travels I’d take them home as souvenirs. It started as a fairly sporadic collection, but over the past few years, I’ve tried to find ornaments from each trip to add to my Christmas Travel Tree.
Ornament from my Habitat for Humanity build in Costa Rica
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
A windmill from the Netherlands
Christmas Travel Tree
Our tree filled with travel ornaments
Paris Disneyland, Macau and a travel sign featuring places I’ve been
Swam with the manatees and then got this ornament in Crystal River, Florida
Sugar skull from Mexico, Santa’s airplane, Jamaica and Florida.
Ornaments from South Korea, New York City and St. Lucia
A souvenir from our trip to Disney World for Halloween