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Christmas in the tropics is justhot, hot, HOT!! We dream of snow and reindeer but the sunshine's all we've got.

Why not make a shady Christmas "Tree" that cats love to play and sleep under. Sure beats the heat!

You can make this project as festive as you wish, using a brighter colored umbrella, tinsel and more toys. I wanted to show you how the most basic "tree" provides heaps of fun for the cats and is easy enough for little children to create.

WHAT YOU NEED for the "Tree" - the fun bit for the children...

  • umbrella with a flat end handle
  • cat treats
  • toilet paper - got to make fake snow somehow...
  • festive wrapping paper
  • scissors
  • elastic
  • corks
  • toilet rolls (or the tube from the wrapping paper)

WHAT YOU NEED for the "Base" - the less fun bit for the supervising adult...

  • a drill
  • timber (use a flat square piece for greater stability or peg it down using garden pegs)
  • one long bolt (I used a 14cm bolt)
  • one plastic ball about the same size as the inside of the PVC pipe. I used a plastic golf ball.
  • PVC pipe - choose PVC pipe wide enough for the umbrella handle and the same diameter as the plastic ball. The ball holds the pipe in place but still allows movement. The longer the length of pipe the more the umbrella handle is supported so the more stable the "tree". Start long and cut short - try 30cm.

This base is simple to make and allows movement of the "tree".(it will dip and sway and can move in a full circle) or you can hang the "tree", make a different base or even prop it over two chair seats or cardboard boxes.

Step 1: Make the Base

1. Drill a hole through the center of the timber. Make the hole tight enough that you need to lightly hammer the bolt through. Make the hole a bit wider and deeper on the side the bolt head is. You can use a bigger drill bit and just drill down a little bit or do what I did and just drill bits out around the hole. It does not have to be pretty, the timber base just needs to sit flat, so the bolt head has to countersink into the hole and not stick out.

2. Cut holes in the plastic ball and push it over the bolt. Put the PVC pipe over the bolt and ball. Cut off any cord from the umbrella handle, open the umbrella and place the handle into the tube. The umbrella handle will sit on the end of the bolt and will dip and sway when you spin it.

Step 2: Decorate the "Tree"

Everything you hang from the tree must be cat friendly and very light.

1. Wrap the corks in paper to make "plum puddings". Tie them with elastic and hang under the umbrella from the metal ribs.

2. Make bonbons by rolling paper around the cardboard rolls.Twist the paper 2 cm from the ends of the roll and push the twisted paper gently back into the end of the roll. This will hold the bonbon together with no need for sticky tape (which can get stuck in cat's teeth). Put the cat treats inside the bonbons for added surprise.

3. Cut the toilet paper into strips to make icicles and heap more on the ground to make snow.

Step 3: Let the FUN Begin...

You can now sit back and relax with a cool drink while your cat plays in the shade under their very own tropical Christmas "Tree". With special thanks to Armani, Trinity, Freya and Rabbit who demolished their gifts but left my umbrella intact, ready for next year... Happy Holidays!

<p>This is a REALLY cool idea (sorry, no pun intended!). We have heatwave Christmas here as well and my sister's cat will sooo love this. Thanks for posting this, I had better get started...</p>
<p>Hey that is awesome that you are going to make this! </p>

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