I love when time can be frozen and a moment can be perfectly captured. This project captures your family just as it is today, and holds it together for Christmases to come. I actually did this tree with my kid's classrooms last year as their class decorations.
Here's what they started out looking like:
Here's how we made them: Everyone got the chance to bring anything they wanted to represent themselves--little tokens of something important to them. They took turns placing them where they wanted them on the tree, and I used hot glue to hold them in place. I used metal tree forms that I picked up second hand, but you could use anything you have shaped in a cone. When every item was placed, I spray painted them in a hammered metal finish. You could use any finish you like, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to spray prime before hand. I was on a time crunch for mine, so I skipped that step.
What are your family's favorite things, right now? For us, it would be legos, pencils, cooking utensils, coins for collecting, little toy animals and musical instruments.