When you need a portable altar on the cheap

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Hubby and I were in the Container Store tonight poking around after dinner tonight. Christmas (storage) shopping is upon us and I was initially shocked to see an artificial tree storage container large enough to double as a coffin. That's the sort of thing I think about: looking to repurpose an inexpensive item for something that would ordinarily cost more. But even so, a clear plastic coffin isn't my concept of a good idea.

After a bit of wandering apart, he called me over to look at a item that struck him as the epitome of a bad idea: their Gift Packaging Workstation. If you don't look, it is sort of a hybrid of an under-bed storage box, with cubbies for storage, and the legs of a folding banquet table. An ideal place to wrap gifts if all your other tables are groaning under the weight of other household detritus, but the $99 price tag struck me as high, or ideal for the shopper who can't say no. Who needs that kind of thing?

After a few seconds of shared revulsion, I realized this unlikely contraption might be useful as an altar-table for churches meeting in rented space. You could store the soft goods, including a fair linen and frontal (or tablecloth) and uncomplicated vesture in the body of the case, and -- bonus! -- there's a shallow pull-out compartment on the top (perhaps intended for flat, folded wrapping paper) that would be ideal for a sermon manuscript, orders of service and other small papers. The $99 cost and added features compares well to the $800 for the military Lee-style aluminum altar (which reminds me of a taller version of the folding tables my grandparents used for picnicking) and which has no storage. Note, it is a little short for me (but not a deal breaker) to use if I were presiding over communion, but I'm rather tall, so for most people I imagine it would be perfect. It is, after all, designed as a working surface.

While I'm at it, other reuses I've written about include the IKEA flaming chalice and the Target folding pulpit.

2 Replies to “When you need a portable altar on the cheap”

  1. Darling, are you forgetting that Candy Spelling had an entire room of her mansion devoted to gift-wrapping???

    I read that in People magazine over twenty years ago and have never stopped joking about it. “Well, it’s been nice to see you all, but I must repair to the Wrapping Room for a bit now. Ta ta.”

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