Amongst our pre-Christmas card writing,  present wrapping, shopping and Strictly, we managed to make a driftwood Christmas Tree this year. I’ve wanted one for years so it is a momentous achievement. It also led to a complete drenching at the beach, memories of which are now woven into every branch of the tree.

Click and Collect

It began a fortnight before Christmas, when Wild Daddy was tasked with a stealth present-collecting mission while I diverted Caroline’s attention with a dog walk at the beach.

It turned out that Amble beach, near the click and collect shop, isn’t much of a beach at high tide with a rough winter sea in strong winds, so we bided our time with litter picking and beachcombing, finding some unexpected pieces of smooth, salt-bleached wood. Perfect for a driftwood tree. Wild Daddy sighed at our stash of sticks when he returned, (mission accomplished) but we winter beachcombers were not to be discouraged!

With gifts and sticks cannily stowed in the van, Wild Daddy’s second task became mission photographer.

Oh I Do Love To Be Beside the Sea….

We discovered a great playground by the sea in Amble where much fun was had until the swings were abandoned when I became lost to the call of the ocean.

The sky was grey and brooding, the sea thick, roiling and strangely forbidding with deep, heavy waves smashing, uncompleted against the sea wall. I love a wild, moody ocean and was mesmerised.

Rogue waves

There was an occasional giant wave seemingly intent on making Selkies of us (half-humans, half-seal, read more about Selkies here soon).

Caroline took a while to realise that I was standing close to the railings in the hope of getting soaked!! Even our crazy child of the wild needs a role model for wildness now and then.

She joined me for a riotous half hour of screaming, drenchings and exhilaration, all thoughts of being cold and wet banished – we’d warm up in the van in no time and the watery fun far outweighed the damp journey home.

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Several incredulous parents commented on our ‘bravery’ (I wonder what they really thought?!) and Wild Daddy, preferring to remain dry, got bored of waiting for the perfect photo. It was ridiculously good fun and a rainbow even appeared, in collusion with our enjoyment. Plus we’d got our driftwood – a perfect Kids of the Wild day out.

Making the driftwood tree

Fast forward to today. After two weeks in the shed our stick collection was dry and ready for transformation. I checked out a couple of tutorials and simplified ours down. The whole thing cost 99p for a piece of dowling!

For a detailed description of what to do, see my post How to make a Driftwood Tree.

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I LOVE our driftwood tree and can’t believe how easy it was but more importantly, in every stick that we used is the memory of an afternoon well spent getting soaked by the sea!

For a driftwood mobile and seashell mosaic ideas see my Back to School Activities post.