Twinkly tacky tech trees

This column hits the street with about 10 to 12 days of shopping left. That means acute cases of both Meadowoodophobia and Costcophobia are increasingly appearing in the mindscapes of the frenzied. Symptoms include fierce scowls, crabby retorts, rolled eyeballs, thinly disguised venomous sarcasm and jumpy middle fingers.

One way to relieve these symptoms is to make sure that you do some, if not all, of your holiday shopping at the shops of SMALL LOCAL MERCHANTS. A good rule of thumb: Do no more than 50 percent of your shopping at places that have listings on NASDAQ or the New York Stock Exchange. By adhering to this guideline, you may spend a little more dough, but you’ll flip off far fewer of your fellow consumer zombies. And hey, that’s what the holidays are all about, right?

In the Christmas decor department, I recently stumbled upon a major new development in yuletide tackitude that could one day become the lava lamp of December. This occurred because I had finally come around to the notion that the greenest way to do Christmas is to, paradoxically enough, buy a PHONY tree that can be hauled out of the garage every Thanksgiving, decked out, and then stuffed back into its hole to provide a support system for black widows during the other 11 months of the year.

I went on the hunt for the classic in faux art deco decadence, namely the aluminum tree with the spectacularly moody rotating color wheel. Score one of those, deck it out with silver balls, and no one can deny you the avalanche of style points you so richly deserve. I had received a hot tip that a local enormous retailer was loaded with metal magic, so I made my move. There were no aluminum trees, alas, but that very quickly didn’t matter. What they DID have were stacks and stacks of the latest in tack—phony phirs with the potential to open whole new realms of solstice schlock.

I’m talking about fiber optic trees. These semi-wacky creations put the “X” back into X-mas, but they’re also completely lovable. The super-thin fiber optic cables run from the plastic base of the tree to the outer tips of the branches. When the color wheel in the base spins, bunches of fiber optics flow from color to color, resulting in a quietly dazzling, yet hardly tasteful display. The overall effect is pretty weird and will be especially enjoyed by those folks who currently have prescriptions for medical marijuana. (I look down at my WWMSD? bracelet—What Would Martha Stewart Do?—seeking guidance. I’m sure M.S. wouldn’t waste any time in stuffing this ultra-twinkly product in her wood chipper a la Fargo. Then, I look on my other wrist to receive balancing guidance from my FMS bracelet and plug the sucker in.)

Three Mickey’s Big Mouths later, I gazed at the tree and felt a warm contentment I’ve rarely known since my dad burned my blanky. If I can get three years out of this unit, it’ll be a steal at $45.