Portal – Fran’s tree last year

In our household, Christmas has always been my domain. My husband humours me, letting me go nuts with decorating, and sometimes even chips in half for a new set of decorations or tree. He will tell me when he doesn’t like my ideas – usually if they involve excessive amounts of pink or gold – but all-in-all he’s very tolerant of my Christmas obsession.

Last year I decided to surprise him with a tree specially dedicated to him. I wanted to decorate a tree in the theme of a video game, so I took to Pinterest and found an image that inspired me to attempt a Portal tree. My husband had been playing Portal 2 a lot and had tried to get me interested in it, but my clumsy thumbs and short fuse with the controller generally meant my interest consisted of just sitting and watching.

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, the idea is that when an entry point is made in one wall, an exit point is made somewhere completely different. When you go through the entry point, you come out wherever the exit point was made. So my plan was to decorate and assemble the tree in a way which gave the illusion it was entering the floor of the lounge and coming back out again through the ceiling.

In theory it was relatively simple but, like most things you find on Pinterest, in practice it was anything but. I bought two sets of white light rope, painted one orange and one blue with glass paint, and taped them into circles to create the portals. My plan was to have the larger (heavier) half of an artificial tree upside-down “entering” the lounge floor and the smaller (lighter) half “exiting” the lounge ceiling.

Attaching the light rope and half-tree to the ceiling proved rather difficult. I hadn’t thought through the fact that we’re in a rental property, and so I couldn’t drill any holes! But I enlisted the help of a friend and between bouts of hysterical laughter we managed to get it attached with fishing line and duct tape. You really can fix anything with duct tape! I finished the tree by dressing it with orange, blue and silver decorations.

My husband was absolutely stoked at all the effort I’d gone to, but after a day we decided trees exiting the ceiling was a disaster waiting to happen, and repositioned it to emerge from the wall on the other side of the room instead. This year I’m planning a much simpler, but still effective Christmas-theme of woodland creatures. I’m guessing putting up the decorations this year will involve a lot less hysterical laughter, and certainly a lot less duct tape.


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