How to Fold Money Into a Christmas Tree

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The humble dollar bill can be turned into an origami Christmas tree.
Image Credit: Catherine McQueen/Moment/GettyImages

When you ask somebody what they want for Christmas, many people will respond "money," but this can feel disappointing if you prefer to give something more meaningful. There is a clever solution for this, and it is not a new idea: a Christmas tree with dollars as its branches. You can fold dollar bills into a tree to make a unique gift that is much more thoughtful than just handing someone bills or sticking them in an envelope.

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How to Fold Money for a Christmas Gift

You can find step-by-step dollar bill Christmas tree origami instructions with photos online, and most follow the same pattern. To fold a dollar into a tree, place it down vertically on a flat surface. Fold it lengthwise (vertically), press down to make a crease and open it up, then do the same thing crosswise (horizontally). Starting at the halfway mark on the bottom-right edge, fold up the bottom corner to the left to extend just past that mark. Fold the tip of that point to the right.

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Repeat those last two steps on the bottom left side of the bill, bending the bottom edge and folding the tip back. You then need to make the same folds at the top right and left sides of the bill. The top and bottom of the bill will be pointed, with a kayak-like shape.

Now, fold the bill in half along the horizontal line you originally made. You should have a triangle shape with two smooth sides. Fold the top layer halfway down and gently pull out the pointed tip. You can fold back that point on the end to make the bottom look like a trunk. If you like, you can tape it here.

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Christmas Dollar Topiary Tree

If you think money doesn't grow on trees, think again with this fantastic money tree topiary idea. This one takes longer and requires some supplies, but the final result is spectacular. You'll need a small pot, a 12- to 14-inch dowel rod, a 5-inch foam ball, floral foam, U-shaped floral pins and decorations for the pot. This tree also uses a lot of bills, so you'll probably want to use smaller denominations.

Place one end of the dowel rod halfway into the foam ball, and put the floral foam snugly inside the pot. Push the other side of the rod down into the floral foam. Carefully pinch a dollar bill in the middle to make its ends point upwards, almost like a bow. Attach it to the foam ball with a floral pin. Repeat this with the other bills until the foam ball is covered.

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Tips on the Christmas Topiary Tree

Note that creating a topiary tree is more expensive and requires a lot of dollar bills; some who have made it say it takes 48 $1 bills to cover a 5-inch foam ball.

Adjust the bills so that the foam ball is completely covered. You can tie a Christmas ribbon onto the dowel and put some garland or other greenery in the pot to cover the floral foam. Decorate as desired.

As a final note, make sure to use fresh, crisp bills for the best results for either project, since a wrinkled and soft dollar bill Christmas tree won't look as good when presented.

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