Notes from Puzzle Palace

Saturday, December 5, 2020

My Christmas Advent PuzzleTree

 Anyone who knows me knows I love Christmas. In years past I would go crazy from Thanksgiving evening decorating the house.  I married a self-proclaimed curmudgeon in 2018 and haven't really decorated since. Last year we had children in the house so there was a bit, but not a tree.  George has put a ban on Christmas trees because he hates putting them up, he says the needles get all over, and then there is the problem of disposing of it when the holidays are over.  (He even vetoed a live potted tree like I had in HK.)

In an evil plot to get around this ban, in 2019 I gave George a small puzzle advent calendar made by Professor Puzzle.  Each morning over our OJ, we would play with the puzzles.  He enjoyed it and I started planning my next adventure.

Starting around April, I started buying unique puzzles I knew George would like. In November I gave him my design of a Christmas tree advent calendar that I was going to build myself (not the word myself!). He jumped in and offered to help.  Our first version used plastic squares and 3d printed joints.  While it looked amazing and stood over 7 feet tall, it just didn't work.  You see, we couldn't get it to stand up.  

Overlooking his great work
Finished failed prototype

Scratch that idea.  Next came George spending three days cleaning his workshop and moving lumber around. When he finished that monumental task, he set about building my PuzzleTree.  I think it turned out just swell. To make it, he used flooring purchased at Home Depot and put in a lot of cuts.  It assembles much like the protective cardboard in a case of wine.  Each of the ornaments you see on it are also puzzles that I have either put together or built myself.  

This year he has decided to open each box just before dinner so he has time to play while I am cooking.  Hmmm.  Doesn't sound fair to me. So far he's been happy with what he's found.

Day 1: Tetra Contact

Day 2: Trap R2 

Day 3: T-Slot Burr

Day 1 was disassembled, analyzed, and Burr Tooled before I was finished cooking.

Day 2 is still sitting bedside.

Day 3 is now on my work table in pieces.  Perhaps he will put it together again soon.   

I shan't post the list of puzzles here because it's early days, but at the end of each week leading up to Christmas, I will post about his puzzling gifts.  

I wish one and all a very happy holiday season. 


  1. In response to the first paragraph, why not just get an artificial tree? If you get a small one you can put the whole thing away each year with lights and decorations still on. I have two and that's what I have done now for 5 years.

  2. That's easy. He said no to ANY tree. This one though he liked. I think it's because I filled it with puzzles for him. ;)