‘Tis the season for tips and tidbits pertaining to the purchasing, maintenance and disposal of Christmas trees. It wouldn’t feel like the holidays without ‘em.

Over this past weekend — a weekend when many Americans decided it was time to either hit up a pop-up Christmas tree shop in a supermarket parking lot, venture out to a cut-your-own tree farm, or haul a faux tree originating from a Chinese factory down from the attic — The L.A. Times published a brief but beautiful article by Sam Watters on the subject of a different kind of Christmas tree and Carl Curtis, an Angeleno who, in 1943, brightened his home with a DIY tree that was “biodegradable, consumed no water and required little space.”

Explains Watters:

Christmas decoration and gasoline in short supply, Carl Curtis picked up branches in backyards and along back roads in L.A. At their modest ranch house, paneled with knotty pine, he and his wife attached a board to the living room wall. They nailed boughs to the plank, long branches at the bottom, short at the top. A string of lights, some colored balls and metal tinsel, easily stored in the attic closet, completed the half-a-tree vignette.
Okay, however visually striking and economical, a Christmas tree made from discarded branches and nailed to a living room wall isn’t for everyone. But Watters believes that this holiday season we should all keep Carl Curtis in mind and consider “reinventing the holiday tree as a symbol of thinking America:”
Today, foreign threats, the role of taxes and the importance of education are topics that challenge us again, just when we need agreement on how to rebalance our way of life to compete against global powers and preserve the world that Carl Curtis assumed was his. Unlike the past, the costs of our wars aren't experienced day to day, but they are lurking in national debt and shrinking supplies of natural resources. As it was in December '43, sacrifice and know-how are required.
Read Watter’s essay in its entirety here. Even though for many families the Christmas tree is a sacred tradition not to be tampered with, has your own Christmas tree been altered in some way to take on a more symbolic meaning that reflects the times?

Via [L.A. Times]

Image: L.A. At Home Blog

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Trees for thought: The Carl Curtis Christmas tree
With resources tight and the second World War raging, L.A. resident Carl Curtis erected a Christmas tree in 1943 that was reflective of the times. Should we be