Sears Christmas Wishbook, 1958
There were many 20th-century attempts to improve upon the traditional tannenbaum – artificial trees, flocked trees, pine scent in spray cans, aluminum trees with color wheels lighting them up. (I confess to have a soft spot for those.)
But this was one variation that seems uncalled for — except that “thousands” made or bought them for a little while in the late 1950s.
Five and a half feet of bunched nylon netting does admittedly make a for an interesting looking abstraction of a fir tree, an exotic mid-century modern mutation.
And then you get it home, and…well, how do you attach those treasured ornaments? How do you string lights? (Can you even string lights, or will they melt the nylon?) Where do the presents go — these “trees” seem to sweep the floor. And that “frosty pink” color, which looked SO modern in the showroom, looks less “glamorous” installed in the house.
“The Center of of Holiday Fun?” Nope, you bought into a fad — something that’s only interesting for a couple of Christmases, even though the catalog page promises this is “not a one-year tree.” And up in the attic it goes.
But if you ever DO bring it down again, of course it’s washable! In case it gets dusty…or in case, you know, you regularly spill your eggnog all over your tree.
Washable Christmas trees – sixty years on, that’s something you can’t do anymore. Sometimes progress is lost.