Four Christmas Trees: How One “Harry Potter” Fan Made a Little Magic for the Holidays

The world has officially begun to segue from Halloween and into the early days of the long Christmas season. With a change in the air, many fans are starting to swap pumpkins for Christmas decorations. Heather Bezuidenhout got a head start on her holiday decorating with not one but four Harry Potter-themed Christmas trees. But her love for the Potter universe doesn’t end with tree decorating.

Bezuidenhout started reading the books when she was just in elementary school, and she says her passion took off from there.

It started in grade 4 (way, way, waaaaay back in 2000) when our class teacher read the first book to us as a class, and just a year later, the first film came out. Also, I had turned 11 the year the first movie came out, so I was the ultimate target demographic. It was a huge phenomenon that swept the globe, and it was irresistible! Each release of a new book or movie was marked on my calendar, and I remember being the only person in my tiny town at the bookstore at 6 AM when the last book came out.

Fast-forward to the present when Bezuidenhout found herself in quarantine lockdown looking for a project. The initial idea of a Harry Potter tree came when she was watching a DIY video on YouTube by Karen Kavett. From there, Bezuidenhout made ornaments using templates she found online, her own imagination, and even her two cats for inspiration. But she ran into a snag when she tried ordering the tree online.

I decided to place an order for the tree, and SIX ARRIVED! I moved to the Netherlands from South Africa, and my Dutch isn’t great, so I didn’t read the description clearly. Rather than return them, my husband encouraged me to just use them all. Unfortunately, two of the trees were broken, but it was okay, as I was running out of flat surfaces to put the trees on.

Each tree only stands at about 35.5 in (90 cm) in height, so her home wasn’t totally overrun by giant Christmas trees. But on the plus side, this posed a new challenge: How do you decorate four different trees? Heather decided to go with four different themes for each tree, which meant crafting specific decorations for each. In her kitchen is the Honeydukes tree. It has an assortment of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and 3D-printed Chocolate Frogs.

 

 

Her Hogwarts tree has homemade mini spellbooks, Christmas poppers, and a 3D-printed Sorting Hat as a topper. She even added a LEGO Hogwarts Castle at the base of the tree for further effect.

 

 

The Dark Arts tree features Dolores Umbridge’s school proclamations, Sirius Black’s Azkaban prisoner ID number, and her cats (Spock and Ripley) posing as Umbridge’s cat plate portraits. This tree is topped with a 3D-printed Deathly Hallows ornament, and the Elder Wand sits at the base.

 

 

Finally, the Wizarding World tree is decorated with miscellaneous objects one can find throughout the books and movies such as “owls, copies of [T]he Quibbler and items from the Weasley’s [sic] household.”

 

 

The 3D-printed toppers and ornaments came from templates Heather and her husband, Henk, found online. Since they own a 3D printer, they just needed to download a template and let the printer create the piece. As far as the rest of the ornaments go, she said the hardest part was sizing.

The most challenging [ornaments] were definitely the books, as I didn’t want to stack sheets of paper. Instead, I made custom[-size] boxes to represent the pages, but getting the sizing perfect was the tricky part. Items like Umbridge’s proclamations and Sirius’s Azkaban sign were also quite tricky, as they were quite small and needed a lot of craft knife work and consisted of two separate elements of the image and the frame.

Despite Christmas not being her favorite holiday, Heather felt like this year was the year to go all out.

To be honest, it’s not really something I’ve ever been that jazzed about, but it’s been such a crazy year. We emigrated in April 2019, and being away from friends and family for another Christmas under such uncertain circumstances just made me want to do something positive and cheery to end the year.

Well said, Heather. 

I’d like to extend a special thank you to Heather and Henk Bezuidenhout and their cats, Spock and Ripley, for sharing their Harry Potter Christmas trees with MuggleNet.

If you have a project you’d like to show off, you can email all relevant information to submissions@staff.mugglenet.com.

Full Transcript with Heather Bezuidenhout, Sunday, November 1, 2020

When did you start reading/watching Harry Potter? Do you have a favorite book or movie?

It started in grade 4 (way, way, waaaaay back in 2000) when our class teacher read the first book to us as a class, and just a year later, the first film came out. Also, I had turned 11 the year the first movie came out, so I was the ultimate target demographic. It was a huge phenomenon that swept the globe, and it was irresistible! Each release of a new book or movie was marked on my calendar, and I remember being the only person in my tiny town at the bookstore at 6 AM when the last book came out. It has definitely been a huge part of my life! In terms of my favourite book, I would definitely say the Goblet of Fire based on the more mature themes with the excellent twist regarding Barty Crouch, and my favourite movie was the first Deathly Hallows just based on how beautifully they executed the tale of ["T]he Three Brothers.["]

Where did you find the ideas for the themes of the trees?

It all was accident driven. Lockdown happened and I needed something to do and I was watching Karen Kavett DIY on Youtube (where a lot of my templates came from as she did her own tree) which sparked the idea of doing my own Harry Potter Christmas tree. I then made a lot of ornaments with no real rhyme or reason, just as many things that I could think of from the [w]izarding [w]orld thinking that I would just use the best ornaments when the time came.

I decided to place an order for the tree, and SIX ARRIVED! I moved to the Netherlands from South Africa, and my Dutch isn’t great, so I didn’t read the description clearly. Rather than return them, my husband encouraged me to just use them all. Unfortunately, two of the trees were broken, but it was okay, as I was running out of flat surfaces to put the trees on. Now I had four trees to decorate.

I had a lot of wizarding candy ornaments, including some 3D[-]printed [C]hocolate [F]rogs, so I decided there should be a “Honeydukes” tree, which is appropriately the one I put in my kitchen; I then asked my husband to 3D print me the Sorting Hat and Deathly Hallows toppers, so I then had a “Hogwarts” tree and “Dark Arts” tree. The Hogwarts tree also features my Lego Great Hall, which was just such perfection, and it has things like spell books, wizarding crackers and [H]ouse[-]themed orbs. The Dark Arts tree has potion bottles, ministry memos, Umbridge’s proclamations and I decided to impose my two cats on the “Umbridge kitten plates” as a joke. The final tree was a bit more miscellaneous with wizarding transportation, owls, copies of [T]he Quibbler and items from the Weasley’s [sic] household, so I consider it to be my “Wizarding World” tree.

How big are the trees?

The trees are all identical and are 90 cm in height and 48 cm in diameter. They also have built[-]in lighting, which is pretty cool.

For the 3D-printed pieces, can you explain the basic process of making those? They look good!

Thank you! All the credit for that goes to my husband and thingiverse.com which has all the 3D printing templates. If you have a 3D printer you can search for a term like “sorting hat” and it will give you all the available options. You then download the files and then you can scale the item or edit it if you know what you’re doing and then let the 3D printer do the work. My husband also has lots of filament options and printed the Sorting Hat in a dark metallic colour, which I love.

Did you make all the ornaments? Are there any that were particularly challenging?

There were some ornaments that I bought as filler like the baubles (but I got them in [H]ouse colours) just so that the trees would be nice and full, and the little owl topper and Fawkes the Phoenix were bought because I didn’t know how to do it myself. I would say that 80% of the ornaments were made by me using templates I found on the internet. The most challenging were definitely the books, as I didn’t want to stack sheets of paper. Instead, I made custom[-size] boxes to represent the pages, but getting the sizing perfect was the tricky part. Items like Umbridge’s proclamations and Sirius’s Azkaban sign were also quite tricky, as they were quite small and needed a lot of craft knife work and consisted of two separate elements of the image and the frame. Also, the Weasley clock was incredibly fiddly as all the hands move.

You said your own cats, Spock and Ripley, appear on one of the trees. Do they like trying to get into the trees like other house cats?

Haha! They certainly had a devilish look in their eyes as I was dressing the trees, but luckily, there have been no “cat”astrophes yet (knock on wood)!

Do you have a favorite tree out of the four?

I am very partial to the Dark Arts tree just because it is very cohesive in a colour story and is probably the strongest thematically (also, this is the tree that features my kitty babies), but I also really love the chaos of the Wizarding World tree, with my favourite of all the ornaments being the Howler. But I love all the trees!

Would you say Christmas is your favorite holiday?

To be honest, it’s not really something I’ve ever been that jazzed about, but it’s been such a crazy year. We emigrated in April 2019, and being away from friends and family for another Christmas under such uncertain circumstances just made me want to do something positive and cheery to end the year.

You mentioned you also have the Elder Wand under one of the trees. Do you have any other Potter products to go with the trees? Do you have any other wands?

I have the Lego Great Hall and a time turner (both in the Hogwarts tree) in addition to the wand. Unfortunately, when we moved, I had to leave everything behind including my books and I was only able to take the wand and time turner which were both gifts from my husband.

What is your Hogwarts House?

If I am allowed a hybrid, I am probably a Gryffinpuff. I like to consider myself a cautious risktaker.

Is there anything else you would like to add to the article?

I didn’t use photoshop and everything was done in word or Adobe PDF so that I could scale certain items appropriately, which goes to show that you don’t need to be a photoshop wizard if you have basic Microsoft office skills.

And a huge thank you to my amazing husband, Henk, for putting up with my crazy and supporting me in executing this dream. I also would like to credit the following artists and websites if I may?

Karen Kavett DIY, who jump[-]started the whole idea: https://www.youtube.com/user/xperpetualmotion|
Danny from Wizardry Workshop, who took basic templates to the next level
And the following designers on Thingiverse:
Sorting [H]at tree topper: https://www.thingiverse.com/volt81885/designs
Deathly Hallows tree topper: https://www.thingiverse.com/alqu948/designs
Chocolate [F]rog: https://www.thingiverse.com/morenap/designs

 

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