What looks like the biggest present under this living Christmas tree is an easy-to-make cylindrical surround that masks the pot in which the tree grows. It's wrapped in ribbons and sized to the height and width of the pot, which sits in a waterproof saucer. (It's a good idea to elevate the saucer to allow air to circulate.) You can also scale the surround to fit a lower, smaller stand for a cut tree.
TIME: About two hours
COST: About $20
Cut a rectangle of poultry netting or mesh fencing slightly larger than the height and circumference of the Christmas tree container. (To make a smooth horizontal line for the top and bottom edges of the netting, fold the wire over on itself.) To determine the approximate amount of ribbon you'll need, lay the rectangle flat and count the number of rows of holes. Measure the length of each row, add at least a foot for each, and multiply this length by the number of rows. For the surround shown above, we alternated bands of 3½-inch gold and taupe ribbons, gathered and twisted in diagonal single rows, on poultry netting. For another version (below), we ran horizontal rows of metallic burgundy ribbon and vertical lines of gold through mesh fencing, then added more horizontal rows using a slender gold ribbon.
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