Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Trees Made Out of Random Crap: Part Two

Funny coincidence: On the day I posted my item about the Emeryville shopping-cart tree, the New York Times ran a story about lobster-trap trees in New England (thanks for the tip, BuboBlog Philadelphia correspondent Guy).

Photo courtesy of the New York Times
From the New York Times:
Gloucester (Mass.) is believed to have started the tradition of the large lobster trap tree when it built its first one in 2001. Janice Lufkin Shea, who was a Gloucester shopkeeper at the time, was frustrated that Main Street had no holiday display. She saw a tiny lobster trap tree in someone’s yard and thought a bigger version would be perfect for downtown. 
Legend has it that when people in Rockland, Me., learned of it, they decided they had to have one, too. 
“Well, we’re the lobstering capital of Maine — we should have a trap tree,” said Lorain Francis, the executive director of Rockland Main Street Inc., which has organized the tree construction since the town first built one in 2003. Each year, the town holds a ceremony at which Santa Claus lights the tree with help from the winner of the annual Maine Lobster Festival Sea Goddess pageant.

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

This tradition seems pretty benign, though I've discussed before how Maine's use of the red lobster as its symbol (rather than a healthy brown one) is an odd celebration of death:
Everywhere you go, all you see is red lobsters. Red lobsters on signs, red lobsters on T-shirts, red lobsters on license plates. 
That's great and all, but lobsters only turn red after you cook them. So if you're giving your kid a red-lobster stuffed animal, you're saying, "Go play with this dead thing."

Christmas is about death and rebirth. I suppose the lobsters die so that they can be reborn as a delicious thing in my belly.

Works for me.