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16 December 2004


I mentioned below that I'm dating a guy who owns an aluminum Christmas tree. In fact, he is to Christmas decorations what James Lileks is to pin-up art -- each takes joy in collecting the aesthetic cast-offs of yesteryear.

Fully assembled, the metallic Tannenbaum is a lustrous joy to behold -- this flash-photo doesn't do it full justice, because the magic of an aluminum tree is the way its highly-reflective foil "needles" catch the colors of the lights around it. (But getting a photo with just the ambient illumination of the Christmas lights requires a real tripod, and I didn't have mine with me.)

But although the tree looks very 25th Century, putting it up wasn't accomplished via the push-button automation promised in vintage science fiction. Each of the tree's 90-odd branches had to be individually inserted into one of the angled drill holes in the "trunk" -- basically, a thick wooden dowel covered with metallic paper. The branches themselves are long aluminum rods around which spirals a fringe of gold-toned aluminum foil. The foil "needles" feel neither like kitchen aluminum foil nor the metalized plastic film used for today's tinsel. I assume they are metal foil coated with some sort of polymer to prevent tearing.

The glass ornaments on the tree include examples of the now-rare "teardrop" shape, purchased secondhand on eBay. And at the bottom of the tree, just to the right of the trunk, you can see a pinkish-red Devil ornament, representing the Alec Baldwin Doppelganger whose tree it is.

The Alec Baldwin Doppelganger's doppelganger. He looks exactly like this, I swear!

Of course, we all know what the  X  in  Xmas  stands for -- no, sillies, not xenomorph or eXtra-terrestrial. Ever since a bunch of godsless busybodies got together to take the Saturn out of Saturnalia, December 25th hasn't been complete without a Nativity scene -- whether terra cotta and wood, as at the White House; marble, as in Loreto, Italy; or human models posed in a tableau vivant.

This one was created with state-of-the-art blow mold technology, creating hollow figures that -- mirabile dictu! -- light up from within, as though enchanted.

posted by Throbert | 12/16/2004 01:43:00 AM |
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