My mum surprised me with this advent tree today. It really looks effective but is difficult to photograph well. She made one for all the girls (me, my sis and my brother's much better half - sorry, but she is!)
I am not sure where she originally came across the idea but she has re-created it in various forms over many years for all kinds of occassions.
I don't think you can tell in the photo but she starts with interesting sticks and twigs (I have also seen her use log like pieces too) and she paints them white, in this case, but whatever colour takes her fancy. She then heavily sprays over that with glitter (that is probably what you can't see from the photo - it is really sparkly! - one of my mum's trademarks!)
From there she arranges all the twigs in plaster of paris inside a terrcotta pot and sets them. She covers the outside of the pot with gorgeous paper and wraps it...ribbons, bows and much more sparkle.
For this tree she obviously wrapped the gifts (gold sparkly paper) and numbered them (with sparkly numbers) up till the 24th (one to open each day). We all get the same 24 but they are all muddled so we each get different ones on each day - I will need to ring my sis or "meena" (what the girl calls the better half) to get a spoiler.
For birthday trees she has wrapped gifts for as many years the birthday is and I have also seen one just full of wrapped lollies as well that looked gorgeous.
I think it is that simple!...
(I must remember it for the girl in the future as she has not stopped fussing over it all night!)