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Tree Up


The downy snow stretches across the brisk panorama and off into a Brooklyn night. Children tumble in the snow. Sleds dredge the middle of the street and carolers patrol the yule. Ok, not this year… and not in my lifetime. For better or worse, the holiday season brings out the Capra in me.


I’ve been trying to erect this thread for the better part of the week however my better half and I haven’t been able to get together to problem-solve that whole star thing for the top of the tree. Aside from spring cleaning or a new piece of furniture, this is the main time of year that me and my neighbors redesign our environments: Blue lights, reindeer, mangers, nutcrackers, menorahs and Santas. How are you and your family celebrating: Traditional or all �mod’ and decked out?

So in my best Jimmy Stewart stammer, I’ll ask you, “wha…wha’s yourr tree look like?”

Merry Christmas and happy holidays from New York. And remember, every time you post… a designer gets his wings.

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PUBLISHED ON Dec.19.2003 BY E. Tage Larsen
eric’s comment is:

This from the Larsen house, with a lot of help this year from my friends at the Conran shop…

On Dec.19.2003 at 08:45 PM
Paul M’s comment is:

My tree is trashed now due to the newest member of our family.

On Dec.20.2003 at 03:01 AM
marian’s comment is:

I figure one tree looks much like the next ... unless it has a cat in it in which case it's kinda hard to beat. But here ya go, my tree:

On Dec.22.2003 at 02:04 AM
Amanda’s comment is:

Paul! That is just too cute! What's his or her name?

On Dec.22.2003 at 06:08 AM
jesse’s comment is:

On Dec.22.2003 at 07:12 AM
eric’s comment is:

marian, what are you talking about girl! your tree looks nothing like ours. wow. i will give it to you that Paul's cat photo is stiff competition.

On Dec.22.2003 at 07:30 AM
Dubya’s comment is:

Our tree's bigger'n yer tree!

Bring 'em on!

On Dec.22.2003 at 09:06 AM
Mark’s comment is:

our tree in college used to consist of a pine branch stapled to the wall (almost charlie brown style) with beercap and condom garland (the twinkle brings a tear to your eye) and a beer can angel. very canadian.

we've grown up since then. now we cut down our tree at a farm each year. nothing like a real pine tree to beat the cheepo pine car air freshner. a pickup truck can be a real curse when it comes to cutting a tree as we are always trying to cram a 9' tree into the living room.

all our decorations are 'natural' made with seeds, pine cones or whatever we can find on our hikes.

merry ho ho

On Dec.22.2003 at 10:30 AM
Rudy’s comment is:

Link: The Mother of all trees!

On Dec.22.2003 at 10:30 AM
Mark’s comment is:

aha! found a picture of last years tree too. One of our cats checks out the greatest gift ever - twins! Aidan and Sydney born Dec 23, 2002.

On Dec.22.2003 at 10:36 AM
Sarah B.’s comment is:

Paul... we bought a ten buck fake tree which resides on the entertainment center - we didnt even take the chance of a real one because of our new family member.

I love to show her off! :)

On Dec.22.2003 at 10:41 AM
marian’s comment is:

Photos with cats and babies are cheating!!

Eric, the only difference between your tree and mine is that yours has presents under it. I cannot tell them apart. I propose that if a genie swapped all our trees on Christmas eve, we would stumble down Christmas morn and be none the wiser. At some point though, someone would say, "That's funny. Where'd this Zeppelin III ornament come from?"

A friend of mine way back in the mists of time, used a prairie tumbleweed as a tree (about 4 feet high and round), and it made the most beautiful tree I've ever seen.

On Dec.22.2003 at 11:20 AM
Bob’s comment is:

Here you go:

This is our first full-sized tree, as we graduated from our tiny college tree with the 2002 After-Christmas-Sales.

On Dec.22.2003 at 11:39 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> Photos with cats and babies are cheating!!

Totally, wait until we go to Bryony's house, they usually put an awesome tree and our 1 year old nephew shall prove as no contest — he is awfully cute.

On Dec.22.2003 at 11:48 AM
eric’s comment is:

great, first the terror alert this morning and now i have to go out and scrounge up pets and infants to stay in the running.

marian, 'tumbleweed' sounds like a great idea - if you can catch one. And if you look closely a major difference between ours is that i actually shot mine from below to make it look bigger. The girl and i opted to cary a 5' tree home.

Mark's tree brings me to my next question: does anybody else make their own ornaments? We've been trying to make a star and i doubt it will get done on time. I used to have a ton of hand made ornaments but they all got lost in one of many new york moves. This year we went to the store and bought everything at once. it seemed a little like cheating.

On Dec.22.2003 at 11:59 AM
Sarah B.’s comment is:

We used to make ornaments like these when we were little (at school) - and I still have a few stuck away somewhere, or perhaps on my parents tree.

I LOVED making them - and Eric, it could be a "quick" start solution if you get desperate! :)

On Dec.22.2003 at 01:55 PM
Sarah B.’s comment is:


On Dec.22.2003 at 01:56 PM
eric’s comment is:

sarah, I used to have ornaments like that when i was growing up (it's based on Native American crafts right?) This the first tree i've had in 12 years so everything on it is all new and a little too store bought for my liking.

I love the idea of Mark's tree. I wonder if Tan ever punched out any of the snowflake promos he did for the christmas card and used them on his own tree???

As Marian keeps insisting that our trees are similar - though her's is far prettier - i think the proof is in the details... something like, say... a Zepplin ornament.

On Dec.22.2003 at 02:28 PM
the girl’s comment is:

>As Marian keeps insisting that our trees are similar - though her's is far prettier

I actually think they are both rather beautiful.

On Dec.22.2003 at 03:50 PM
marian’s comment is:

Agreed. My comments about living accesories aside, not a contest: just a cultural study in how all Christmas trees look exactly the same ;)

On Dec.22.2003 at 04:09 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>I wonder if Tan ever punched out any of the snowflake promos he did for the christmas card and used them on his own tree???

I did eric. I have a photo of our tree with our 2 kids fighting in front of it too. But I'm off work this week, so no chance to post it to our server. Maybe I'll sneak in tomorrow and do it quietly...

Our tree is also completely enclosed in a plastic playpen thingy -- to protect it from our 2 yr.old son, Mason, from stripping all the ornaments off the tree.

On Dec.22.2003 at 06:38 PM
mrTIM’s comment is:

About handmade ornaments:

My grandmother gave all of us kids a hand made ornament for christmas until we graduated highschool. They always had a theme that originated on some event from that year. Example: on christmas during the year I turned 16 she made an ornament that looked like a driver's license...

So now ever year when I go home my mom sets up a seperate tree with only my brother and I's ornaments from grandma. I know it's childish, but a tree that represents a family members hard work and love is what Christmas is all about.

On Dec.22.2003 at 08:54 PM
eric’s comment is:

Tim... how great is that???? totally cool.

Tan. Dude, i was at an xmas party last night where the hosts had an 18 mo old that was running around creating holy terror (ok, pun slightly intended) when the kid got too uppity about the tree and ripped off a bulb. The mother quietly went over to the kid, took the bulb and looked sad and then threw it out with the trash. How's that for conditioning? Little Devil did nothing but marvel at the rest of the tree all night long without incident.

On Dec.22.2003 at 11:29 PM
Tan’s comment is:

> Little Devil did nothing but marvel at the rest of the tree all night long without incident.

Ha! Such cheap tactics would never work on my evil genius boy. He'd either dig the ornaments out of the trash, or help empty the rest of the tree into it.

Everyday he finds new ways of challenging his surroundings. For us, it's like terrorist tactical-training sometimes.

But ya gotta love 'em. It's what they do.

On Dec.23.2003 at 02:04 AM
Mark’s comment is:

our office tree too (grapevines wrapped in a tree shape). pictures of us in toques above with our mini stockings. Today is our secret santa day with gift exhange, handmade cards and surprises for all. we really get into Xmas here - a great group of people.

On Dec.23.2003 at 09:56 AM
Sarah B.’s comment is:

Mark... that looks like a gorgeous office.... post more pics over in "Designer's Offfice Fetish"..... pretty please.

On Dec.23.2003 at 10:25 AM
eric’s comment is:

mark, you totally have the holiday all dialed in. send me your blueprint will you? i'm glad your office gets into the holiday too. looks great.

i just picked up my bush noel from maison du chocolat and don't know if i can wait 48 hours to eat it.

On Dec.23.2003 at 01:06 PM
marian’s comment is:

maison du chocolat

gasp! ... faint ...

I don't know what a bush noel is, but the one time I went to maison du chocolat, while in NY with my (former) design team and pals, well, we barely got out the door before unwrapping and devouring our chocolate artes on the street like urchins.

On Dec.23.2003 at 02:20 PM
chan’s comment is:

now where are the hannukah bushes?

On Dec.23.2003 at 05:04 PM
eric’s comment is:

m: bush noel is an "xmas log" ... chocolate goodness rolled around some kinda creamy stuff. Done the Maison way... oh my god. Next time you come to NYC that store is spitting distance from the gallery.

Now, this abbreviation of the WSJ article from this morning. ..

A Hue and Cry Over the Colors Of Christmas Past

Green and Red Are So Over

At Always Christmas, a 90,000-square-foot emporium in Lake Orion, Mich., an artificial 12-foot tree stands in the center of the store. Laced through its flame-retardant branches are more than 300 teardrop and berry-cluster-shaped bulbs in a distinctive color theme: red and purple.

Purple? "People are really going for the less traditional colors," says store manager Teresa Miller, who calls the flashy faux fir one of the more extreme trees she's seen in her seven years at Always Christmas. "Red and green will always be needed, but it seems like people want to be daring."

When it comes to the colors synonymous with Santa's elves, New York society party planner Antony Todd is more blunt: "Red and green isn't relevant," he says.

For reasons cultural and aesthetic, people are rejecting red and green as Christmas's official color scheme. Although the ubiquitous duo has maintained a stranglehold on the holiday for decades, it is increasingly being upstaged by gold, white and blue, and even pastels on occasion.

Behind the dimming of the red and green is a culture intent on making over almost everything, from faces to homes to entire lives. Style mavens like Martha Stewart have also trained fans to favor a more neutral palette. "Christmas has got a lot more design-y," says Simon Doonan, creative director at Barneys New York. "People now see their trees as decorative accessories."

Some versions of red and green can still be chic. The colors as found in nature -- such as evergreen wreaths and red cranberries -- are still considered au courant. And muted variations, such as olive and raspberry tones, are less likely to upset lofty sensibilities.

On Dec.23.2003 at 07:56 PM
Tan’s comment is:

> bush noel

I believe it's a "Bouche de Noel" -- a giant Little Debbie's chocolate roll. Mmmm...

...all this talk of trees reminds me of the Xmas tree references from Eyes Wide Shut. As someone finally explained it to me (w/ a NY Times article), Kubrick used the Xmas trees to symbolize the unachievable idealism of sex.

Strange little biscuit of a movie.

Oh well...Ho, ho, ho.

On Dec.23.2003 at 08:38 PM
eric’s comment is:

I believe it's a "Bouche de Noel" -- a giant Little Debbie's chocolate roll. Mmmm...

Dear Boy,

Actually, “Buche de Noel.” The difference being that Bouche translates as “mouth”. And you know me, it is always "always" about the little Debbie.

...all this talk of trees reminds me of the Xmas tree references from Eyes Wide Shut. As someone finally explained it to me

I believe it’s “Harper's” not NYTimes (you have to scroll down a ways,) but then who am I to argue with your fan club? Those people will cut you three ways: deep, wide and continuously.

Merry Christmas you sweet man ;)

On Dec.23.2003 at 11:34 PM
Tan’s comment is:

> Actually, “Buche de Noel.”

...as they say -- pardon my French, mon ami.

> I believe it’s “Harper's” not NYTimes

sorry, I should've remember it was you who found that great excerpt. You probably read everything, don't you eric?

Holiday cheers right back at ya!

On Dec.24.2003 at 11:15 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Check it out, Bryony's mom put this together. It's all lights (1,800 of them presumably) and some sort of fluffy, white, dryish flowers.

Here is a detail

And right in front of the tree there is a fireplace… I tried to get some work done. Impossible.

On Dec.28.2003 at 08:00 PM
Steven’s comment is:

Oh, wish I had a digital camera. I'd throw up a pix or two of my tree in a heartbeat.

My wife and I have developed a nice little tradition. First, I get all Virgoed-out and meticulously put on the (white, small) lights, giving attention to even spacing and hiding the wire. My wife then puts on the first wave of ornaments. (It's important to get the spousal input early on to avoid later controversy and reconstruction.) Then I come back with a few of my prized ornaments; then she and I start filling in the remaining empty spaces and adjust as necessary.

With ornaments, we have all types from antiques to plastic. A Radko Santa will be next to a Ren and Stimpy ornament, which is next to a gold wire snowflake, which is next to a paper mache apple, and so on. It's all about having lots of variety.

Also, we like to have little stories or personal connections to the ornaments, so that hanging an ornament is a chance to remember the past and think about the future.

It's just so nice to have a glowing tree filled with a multitude of sparkling forms sitting adjacent to the fireplace with a fire crackling, stockings hanging and the mantle covered in pine boughs, berries, and candles. Complete the environmental visualization with the addition of downbeat music, a hearty seasonal beer, a good book, and dogs sleeping next to the hearth. That's pretty much Xmas at my house.

I just love it!

On Dec.29.2003 at 08:50 PM