Pop Culture

Decorations Gone Wild: The Wacky Tree Trimmings of Houston

Photo by Sam Byrd
Whether you've been naughty or nice, this tree is sure to catch the eye of everyone.
The splendor and beauty of the holiday season presents itself all over town this time of year. The Galleria’s tree stands a whopping 55-feet tall, featuring 450,000 twinkling lights and 5,000 ornaments. The Zoo Lights offer a dazzling presentation for the whole family. Highland Village looks like a Winter Wonderland.

But that stuff gets old after a while. Why not take a walk on the wild side and go with attention-grabbing decorations sure to make the holidays…well…interesting.

I'm a Sleigh For You

Why have Christmas when you can have Britmas? Afterall, Britney Spears birthday is December 2, and you know she celebrates all month long. It’s not all that uncommon to give a nod to one’s favorite superhero, musician or cartoon character, but this tree takes the cake. Here, we have an homage to Britney Spears, complete with a prayer candle, several Britney ornaments and nesting dolls.

The ornaments say everything from “Merry Britmas” to “Ha Ha, Hee Hee, Ho Ho Ho” in reference to song lyrics from “If You Seek Amy.” Of course, she is flanked by her spiritual advisors – the Golden Girls – and a faithful army of merman protectors. And what could possibly go atop this tree other than a disco ball. Naturally. Because if it doesn’t sparkle, Britney doesn’t want it.

click to enlarge This ceiling-high smorgasbord of color and bow ties is impossible to miss at the Alley Theatre. - PHOTO BY HOLLAND VAVRA
This ceiling-high smorgasbord of color and bow ties is impossible to miss at the Alley Theatre.
Photo by Holland Vavra
You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Bow Tie
Music idols also made an appearance at the Alley Theatre this year, decorated by actress Holland Vavra, which are on display in the lobby as part of its annual Deck The Trees celebration. During this event, several trees fill the lobby and are trimmed by the area's leading designers. Monies collected from tree sponsors benefit The Alley's education and artistic initiatives.

“The Alley originally asked me to decorate a tree for this event after they asked me for eight custom bow ties made from their costume remnants for their gala’s auction,” Vavra said.

Her company, Freddie & David, is in its fourth year designing and creating bow ties made from refurbished clothing from local theaters, so if the glove, er, bow tie fits, go with it. Vavra, indeed, ran with it. She said it took nearly 40 hours to make everything by hand and assemble the tree, which she has named the Freddie & David Merry Gay Christmas Happy Pride Bow Tie Tree.

In addition to the bow ties and a picture of Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, it also is adorned in the colors of the Gay Pride Flag.

“I wanted the tree to be a dedication to the LGBTQIA+ community. I consider them my inspiration for a lot of things. As much as I love PRIDE in June, I wanted some Christmas PRIDE too!,” Vavra said.

click to enlarge A tree fit for a beauty queen deserves nothing on top other than a crown. - PHOTO BY TIANNA HALL
A tree fit for a beauty queen deserves nothing on top other than a crown.
Photo by Tianna Hall
Is It Art, Or Is It Fashion?
Holiday décor has made the leap from a tree that you dress to a dress that’s a tree. Jazz singer Tianna Hall set up this festive beauty, which her daughter Evie has named the “Princess Tree.” Hall is a previous Miss America local titleholder. She held the titles Miss Rio Grande Valley in 2001, Miss Richardson in 2002 and Miss Conroe in 2003, which helped her to pay for college. So when she spotted this beauty, she had to have it.

What does a former pageant contestant put atop her tree? A stole and her pageant crown, of course.

“My children get to pick out an ornament for each of us each year,” Hall said. “Cricket the wonder dog gets an ornament each year too.”

It’s especially important for Hall to incorporate the dog into the family tree as both her children are autistic. Cricket is her son’s service dog and is trained in search rescue tracking to find her son within a 5-mile radius.

She said, “I intend to continue building up my new personal glam tree with new additions every year that make me giddy. Be it sparkles, pearls, Metallic or anything relatively neutral that is steeped in some sort of glamorous, over the top, feminine ridiculousness, because that brings me joy.”

There's that special eye-catching arrangement again. - PHOTO BY SAM BYRD
There's that special eye-catching arrangement again.
Photo by Sam Byrd
Have You Been Naughty Or Nice?
Santa might prefer us to be nice, but it’s so much more fun being naughty. And no, that’s not the Grinch’s wife’s mannequin in the photo. That’s the decorative tree in the window of Adam & Eve, located at 1111 Westheimer, that can’t help but turn heads as people pass by on the street or sidewalk.

One worker said they don’t sell the tree outfit in the store. He just threw it together for fun. It features ornaments suspended in the air to resemble snow, and in the background is slutty sexy Mrs. Claus.

The store sells everything from adult videos to toys to lingerie, so if you’re looking for any last minute stocking stuffers, you might stop by one of the three stores in the Houston area.

After all, what could get your blood racing faster than Santa’s miracle year-round-in-a-single-day trip than opening up a sock filled to the brim with tidbits from the adult store. Go ahead, spice up your relationship - and the holidays.
click to enlarge Introducing...the muffler menorah. - PHOTO CREDIT BY SAM BYRD
Introducing...the muffler menorah.
Photo credit by Sam Byrd
Menorah Madness
When driving down in the East End, one might need to double question if delirium is setting in or if there really is a giant menorah sitting in front of New Star Muffler at 5301 Harrisburg.

When asked about the adornment on the street, one worker said it just made sense to put mufflers on a giant star they had since that is the product their business is built around.

Whether intentional or not, drivers will swear it resembles a muffler menorah. And why not, the holidays aren’t just for the Christians.

If you haven’t finished decorating your tree, or are looking to vary things up, take a tip from these local folks and go all in. Plus, you won't have to feel guilty about leaving the tree up for a while to enjoy the ridiculousness of it all. There are 12 days in Christmas, so leave those twisted trees up through January 6.