Themed Christmas tree ideas

Infinite regression tree
Like most people, I suppose, we have at least a dozen miniature Christmas trees in our collection of Christmas tree ornaments. The infinite regression tree takes this a step further: not only is every ornament is a tree, but each is covered with onaments that are themselves trees, and so on down to the molecular level. Going in the other direction, are we not each but ornaments on the branches of the world tree, Yggdrasil?

Twitter tree
Bird-themed trees are a relative commonplace, but what if each bird were actually one of the burgeoning number of cutesy icons for Twitter which, when squeezed, uttered brief inanities?

Ancestral tree
In this variation on the popular gingerbread person theme, each ornament is a human ancestor, starting with the ancient arboreal primate ancestors in the top branches and ending with modern humans on the bottom limbs, looking overweight, out of breath, and not sure how the hell they’re going to get down. Instead of gingerbread, use potted meat product baked to a uniform and delicious crispness.

Braintree
Pretty in pink, this favorite of Massachusetts residents celebrates their proud intellectual heritage, now sadly squandered on Tea Party politicians and the walking dead.

Toiletree
You might be wondering what toilets have to do with Christmas. Well, the flush toilet is the 21st-century answer to the chimney in days of yore: the one physical connection every residence has with the cosmos. I am not necessarily suggesting anything about Santa, here — but ask the Catalonians what the hell a cagador is doing at the Nativity. And then there’s the magical pooping log

Free tree
The tree itself and everything on it comes either from your local Freecycle group or the free stuff section of Craigslist. When Christmas is over, box the tree up and send it to a needy child in some insufficiently developed part of the world where they don’t know it’s not Christmas.

Security tree
This looks exactly like your regular family Christmas tree, except that every one of your funky old ornaments has been retrofitted with a hidden security camera, all of them connected via 3G wireless to police headquarters. Why take a chance with fire, choking hazards, potential child abuse from drunk relatives, illicit drug use or subversive gifts? Make this your safest holiday ever with a tree so security conscious, you won’t need to buy your children a single snuggly stuffed animal.

Decision tree
Every branch on this tree symbolizes a potential life choice. Decorate with slightly altered replicas of the universe.

Green tree
For the environmental zealot, this “living tree” comes complete with symbiotic fungal and bacterial partners capable of converting soil minerals into a useable form and helping with the uptake of water, in exchange for energy harvested directly from sunlight! This amazing source of “green” energy not only doesn’t contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, but actually deploys a unique carbon-capture process to help clean the atmosphere, and becomes more efficient with age. The catch is that this tree cannot be brought into the living room. But on holidays with as much over-indulgence as Christmas, Lord knows we could all use a little walk.

Don’t forget to submit to the Festival of the Trees by December 30 and help us inaugurate the International Year of Forests on January 1!

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

8 Comments


  1. Well, we have an artificial tree since we often travel over winter break – and our theme is nerdiness. Most of our ornaments are either Star Wars, Star Trek, or Muppets. When you turn on the lights, you get a combination of “resistance is futile,” “The force is strong with this one,” and the Swedish Chef. :)

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  2. That recursive Christmas tree has appeared in science fiction, namely Robert Forward’s Rocheworld series. Their “Christmas Tree” is a recursively branched motile controlled by a starship’s computer, and used for assorted maintenance tasks. The branches and sub-branches can detach and fly around the ship (zero-gee) for small jobs, and the various parts communicate by laser, for sparkly lights.

    In current times, there have been experiments with dendritic molecules that self-assemble.

    Also: “The Securitree is looking at me!”

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    1. I didn’t think I would’ve been the first to have those ideas. Still, not bad for Christmas Day brain farts, I thought. :) Thanks for the reference.

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  3. ‘Decision tree’ is my favourite. I imagine those slightly altered replicas nestling and twinkling in tissue paper in their box, but careful not to drop them, I don’t know what would be the quantum repercussions if one were to shatter…

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  4. This reminds me of Calvino. Loved it! Here’s my contribution:

    Corporate Tree:

    The mother of all trees, this one comes with ornaments all along the hierarchy, with ones on top getting to command and re-organize those below. Each ornament holds on to its branch and defends it, while trying to expand control by pushing the neighbouring ornaments off. But if you are pushed off you do not fall – you only jump to the next corporate tree.

    The Corporate tree is related to the Decision tree, and paralysed by it. Choices are debated endlessly, and no decision is taken.

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    1. I am not familiar with that tree but it definitely belongs in the collection! Thanks.

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