Someone accidentally challenged me to make the ugliest Christmas tree in the world. And to that challenge, like Icarus, I rose. Click the pic to watch the birth of a legend, and mix up a festive Christmas cocktail to boot!
Upon reading this, I decided that I would – no, that I MUST – create the world’s ugliest Christmas tree. And it would be hot pink with zebra stripes. And it would be horrible… and glorious. In order to make this dream come true, I knew instantly that I’d have to visit THE center of all things gaudy and tasteless. No, not Walmart. Say what you will about Wally World; there’s somewhere worse. That’s right, we’re going where the uglies are uglier and the smellies are smellier. Come, friends, our shitty Mecca awaits… we ride to Big Lots!
I am a Big Lots fan. Hell, I’ve got a Big Lots preferred customer membership. Seriously. Sometimes you can find amazing deals there, and as a man who loves to waste money, I’m happiest when I can waste it in small increments on as much useless crap as possible. But come Christmastime, I avoid Big Lots like the plague. Half of the store transforms into The Island Of Misfit Christmas Shit, vomiting up the most inexplicably repulsive Yuletide garbage you can find outside of Mexico. Oh, sure, I’ve found nice Christmas stuff there. But such items are visually buried by the overwhelming fug of Chinese plastic suck. No other store, not even the juggernaut of poor Christmas decisions that is Walmart, can compete with Big Lots in the game of Let’s Make Santa’s Eyes Bleed™. So when I needed to find a pink tree, I knew I could rely on Big Lots to provide. And, lo, Big Lots diddeth not disappoint.
Because fuck extension cords, that’s why. This tree came pre-lit with 70 pink lights. I added 140 blue lights. ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY. That’s TWICE the candlepower. But this tree is so overwhelmingly god damn pink that the blue barely makes a dent. This thing glows pink from it’s very core. It’s so powerful that I’ve invented a new name for this level of pinkness – Nuclear Fuckin’ Pink. My nuclear fuckin’ pink tree savagely beats down any other wavelength of light that dares to step on its turf. Those poor little blue lights never stood a chance.
Walmart provided the zebra stripe ribbon, and while I was poking around in the fabric section, I came across some tiger stripe as well. Couldn’t resist.
Oh, yes, my lovely. You’re coming along nicely. I intend this tree to be so garish, so fantastically unappealing, that were Elvis alive today there would be no price he wouldn’t pay me for it. This baby needs to be the Yuletide centerpiece of the Jungle Room.
This is not the ugliest tree skirt I could find. The ugliest tree skirt I could find was at Walmart, and it cost $24. Fuck that. There’s only so far I’m willing to go. So I went the other direction. Dollar Tree had what is possibly the flimsiest, most transparent tree skirt ever made. This pic has the fabric doubled over twice, and if you look closely you can still see my floor through it. I seriously suspect that if I spilled water on this thing it might just dissolve.
When it came to topping my masterpiece, I was torn between all the ugly angels I found and all the ugly stars I found. Then good old Big Lots came through with an ugly angel INSIDE an ugly star. Thank you, Big Lots. I knew you woudn’t let me down.
… oh, YES.
With the basic setup out of the way and some swinging Christmas lounge music on the hi-fi, I decided to Rat Pack it up a notch by creating a minibar right behind my tree. It’s the Christmas Cocktail Creation Station! While Frank and Deano crooned those kooky carols, I decided to take a break and hit the Christmas spirits.
Using my lovely Christmas Cocktail Creation Station, I invented a new Christmas cocktail. It’s called “¡Feliz Navidad, Señor Tomás!” and it is DELICIOUS. Let me walk you through the recipe.
I started out with one of those fruit juice popsicles all the healthy kids are so crazy about these days. During the summer I keep a box of these at the ready to use as ice cubes. Do this: buy some. Then let them melt. Then throw them back in the freezer, still in the box, making sure all the plastic tubes of slush are vertical. They’ll refreeze with the fruit slurry all at one end of the stick, leaving a bigger piece of Baltic birch to use as a stirrer. I just happened to have one last popsicle left. And it was strawberry, which worked out REAL well for this drink.
Place the popsicle in a swingin’ green stemmed martini glass, and slowly pour 1½ shots of good tequila over it.
Next, slowly pour 1½ shots of Tom Collins mix over the popsicle. Stir. Some of the juice and fruit bits will start to melt into the drink. Admire them. They are your friends.
Next, top with one shot of carbonated fruit juice and stir. Here’s a free health tip: cheap Dollar Tree carbonated fruit juice costs $1 for 3 liters, and has LESS THAN HALF the calories of cranberry juice or any other juice I could find. I don’t know how that’s possible, but it’s true.
Stir until the frozen juice falls off the stick. Then get rid if the stick.
Now step back and admire the awesome cocktail you just made. Pretty, ain’t she? Well, go on, don’t be shy. Drink up!
God damn, that’s tasty! With the strawberry, lemon and tequila in there I kind of expected this to taste like a margarita. Nope. This is nothing like a margarita. In fact, this drink is so unmargaritalike that I’m comfortable claiming this as a Christopher Woodall original. Delicious tequila cocktail, I am your maker and your sire, and I dub thee “¡Feliz Navidad, Señor Tomás!” Whenever this drink is drunk, you must clink your glasses or raise them on high and proclaim “¡Feliz Navidad, Señor Tomás!” in your best Mexican accent. All together now… ¡Feliz Navidad, Señor Tomás! Okay, now back to work.
The flash of the camera lends a pleasing tone to this sparkly green bow. I assure you that in real life this pleasantness does not exist. This is quite possibly the most putrid, split pea green that has ever offended a human eye. This may be perfectly acceptable in a bowl, but not in a bow. Who the fuck thought this was a good idea? Why anyone would decide to mold a decoration in this color is quite beyond my capacity. Same goes with the reindeer. Unlike the bow, this blue is downright pretty. But why? Why make a sparkly blue reindeer? And why so blue? Why so god damned, intensely, electric blue? SOMEBODY OWES ME ANSWERS!
Sound delicious, don’t they? Too bad they look like…
I will not make a Cleveland joke. I will not make a Cleveland joke. I will not make a Cleveland joke…
… THIS. I don’t know what soulless, Christmas-hating bastard decided that orange and brown was a good color scheme for candy canes, but that nameless blackhearted villain unwittingly played pawn in my game to rule the ugly tree universe. Sentences like that are what kept me out of the really good colleges.
I… I have no words.
Mmm! Nothing says Christmas like a lime green metal cupcake.
I can only imagine the meeting that produced this travesty. “Alright, let’s discuss this year’s ornament line. Whadda ya got for us, Bill?” “Well, Tom, my team has come up with something I think you’re really gonna like. A tree… you hang… ON A TREE! It’s totally meta.” “Interesting, interesting. But won’t that be kind of hard to see?” “Way ahead of you, there, Tom. We’re not making them green. We’ve hired an outside firm to come up with a whole new color for these trees. We call it ‘White Guy’.” “I like it, Bill. I like it a lot. But ‘White Guy’ seems… I dunno, kinda like asking for trouble.” “We thought you might say that, boss man. So we’re thinking about marketing these as a whole new tree species: Caucasian Pine.” “I love it! Begin production immediately. Oh, and Bill, we’re going to be selling these in the south. How’s about we double the amount of glitter.” “You got it, big guy!”
This paisley glass polyp is not only ugly, but the crackly gold paint is made of some sort of mystery chemical that does not dry. Ever. This thing is sticky. It STAYS sticky. It’s been out of the package for… wait, it didn’t come in a package. It was hanging on a hook in the store. What the hell? How is this thing perpetually sticky? Suddenly I regret holding it for this photo.
I could have gone with the candy cane full of Christmas colored M&Ms, but how would that help my cause? Fortunately Reese’s boldly refuses to bow to Saint Nick’s color regime and fills their candy canes with yellow, orange and brown hunks of peanut butter. With a red cap. Which is ugly enough on its own, but on a pink tree… wow. This one was a winner.
Plastic glitter onions, now available in Constructicon and Avatar.
I stuck with three sources of crap for my tree: Big Lots, Walmart, and Dollar Tree. This is a Dollar Tree chili pepper car air freshener. Its scent was listed only as “Spicy,” and it lives up to its name. It is, in fact, an unidentifiable spicy smell. It’s really rather pleasant, if completely mysterious. You may ask why I would put a chili pepper on a Christmas tree. Because I watch Frasier, that’s why.
Shine on, you crazy diamond. God damn, that is one big, overexposed pile of ugly.
What’s an ugly tree without ugly presents? If you’re buying a gift for a cheap hooker in 1995, or an expensive one 1962, or if you’re just plain ol’ from New Jersey, then Dollar Tree has the boxes for you.
So as soon as I got the ugly presents in place, I remembered this awesome 1970s bubble light centerpiece my aunt gave me last year. I LOVE BUBBLE LIGHTS. This was the perfect thing to finish off the tree. It’s traditionally colored and 1970s modern, so it clashes perfectly with the tree. Sorry, ugly presents. You take a back seat to any Christmas ornament that boils.
This is quite possibly my favorite picture I’ve ever taken. Plain old digital camera, shut off the flash, and BOOM, I get this. It makes me warm and happy just looking at it. I had to color correct a lot of these photos; taking flash photos of a metallic pink surface makes everything look purple. But this was just point and click. What can I tell you? I get lucky sometimes.
“It’s not such a bad little tree. Maybe all it needs is a little love.”
So I set out to create the ugliest tree in the world, and I’ve gotta say, I think I failed. The more I look at this thing, the more appealing it is. Sure, it’s entirely unconventional and purposefully over the top. But the pink light is so strong that it mutes all the other clashing hues, and overall… well, it just kind of works. It may look like it belongs in a twisted Barbie Dream House, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t FEEL like Christmas. Nuclear fuckin’ pink Christmas tree? Yeah, little guy, you’re a-okay by me.
I’ve got a few pics below that were just too pretty not to share. Among them are the many random items I picked up for myself while Christmas shopping. In an effort to teach myself patience and delayed gratification, I swore I would not open or play with any of these things until after Christmas. That vow lasted nearly two whole days. What can I tell you? I’m a giant child.
UPDATE, December 19, 2013: It is with great sadness that I must report that The Ugliest Christmas Tree In The World is no more. The ravages of sun, time, and water damage were simply more than he could bear. Rest in peace, you magnificent pink bastard. It won’t be Christmas without you.