Alternative Christmas Trees

Why settle for a boring, old-fashioned Christmas tree?

Dad, I know you want to drag a super boring, green, tallish, triangular shaped fuzzy tree into our house and watch it slowly die, just like every other average Modern Family does, year after year. But I beg of you, let me build a Christmas Sculpture this year instead.

I know, I know — you’re worried it won’t be ready in time for the Christmas party. Don’t worry! Have a look at these sketches, choose which concept you like best, and I’ll have it ready in time for the party, guaranteed.


Balloons Tied to a Rock: Exactly what it sounds like. But let’s unpack the meaning here: like holiday traditions, balloons are empty and artificial. But that hollow materialism is supposed to be tied to something heavy – the death of Jesus, right? Or was it his birthday? I dunno. You raised us in a godless household. Anyway, since you love to watch the Christmas tree slowly wither and die, you’ll should love this even shorter-lived replacement.

Tree Pose: I will stand in tree pose through the duration of the holiday party and refuse to speak to anyone, like the British fuzzy hat guys in London. Guests will come up to me and make small talk like “Are you still in school?” and “You should date my son” and I will remain silent and still as a statue and slowlyyyy, maaayyybe, people will get that I’m a tree. Word will spread. Some people won’t find out days later and they’ll feel slightly alienated and dumb. And this will be the beginning of our family being known as artsy, progressive, and too good for this town.


Catmas Tree: Cats are always climbing the Christmas tree, drinking the water, playing with the ornaments. They’re kind of the best part of the tree, if you ask me. So instead of wasting time with the tree this year, we should get one of those giant cat tree scratching posts and stick a few cats on it. String some barbed wire around it so they’re in prison. Then keep them there for weeks. That’s it. It’ll be like a David Blaine stunt but way cuter, cuz it’s cats. And we save money, since we already own the cats and don’t have to buy tickets to David Blaine.

Upside Down Umbrella Filled with Water Slowly Leaking onto Gifts: “Christmas,” while it refers to a single day, is really about all the things done in anticipation. All the little traditions, like buying presents, decorating the house, making gingerbread cookies, getting tipsy with mom — those are what the holidays are really about. The actual day ends up feeling kind of inconsequential, doesn’t it? Anticlimactic? It’s almost like, so what if this iPad mini is irreparably water damaged — our memories are water tight.


Plank of Wood with Nails Violently Driven Through it (with Shattered Light Bulb): With all the holiday buzz around family, giving, and togetherness, it’s easy to forget that we’re all just dust, condemned to share our brief, miserable existence in the same suffocating void. Nothing says “What’s the point?” like Plank of Wood with Nails Violently Driven Through it (with Shattered Light Bulb). The beauty of this piece is how it challenges the viewer’s ignorant Christmas spirit — and then crushes it, mercilessly.

So dad, which one’s your fave??… Why are you making that face? Would it help if I said we could put tinsel on the Nails?

Go a few generations back in Hallie Bateman’s family tree and there are just claw marks left by a family of bears. She sometimes drinks paint water by accident and once drew a series of portraits of her friends as potatoes, which can be seen on her blog. She is the art director of The Bygone Bureau and also tweets.