In the pink — except for Christmas trees

Published 12:30 am Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I was about 10 years old when I first saw one — a Christmas tree with snow on it.

What’s remarkable about that? Well, that tree was in Pensacola, Fla., where snow is found mostly in the dictionary. During my boyhood years spent there, I recall seeing three snowflakes fall one winter’s day.

Actually, the snow I saw on that Christmas tree wasn’t the kind one would use to make snow cream. The snow I saw had been sprayed on the Christmas tree.

Although the snow was not the real stuff, the light-blue Christmas tree was gorgeous.

Last week, I learned the process used to coat Christmas trees with faux snow has a name — flocking. Flocking is the process of depositing many small particles onto a surface. So is snowing, now that I think about it.

My father, my two sisters and I went to the Christmas-tree lot to pick out a Christmas tree. While there, I noticed two or three workers at the Christmas-tree lot operating sprayers and covering some Christmas trees with faux snow. They did a great job. The trees looked just like all those Christmas trees covered with snow when looking at all those Christmas specials on TV.

Some trees were covered with white faux snow. Other trees were covered with light-blue faux snow. Several more trees were covered with green (yes, green) faux snow.

To a towheaded young-un who rarely saw snow growing up (except for that one trip to Iowa during one winter), even faux snow on a Christmas tree was a sight to see. Of course, I wanted to take one of those faux snow-covered Christmas trees home.

Then I saw it. A Christmas tree covered with faux snow — pink faux snow.

That lone Christmas tree, covered with pink faux snow, drew plenty of attention. If my memory serves me correctly, my two sisters “Ooohed” and “Aaahed” over that pink tree. The best I can say about that tree was that it was different and caught my attention.

As best as I can recall, my father gave the tree a close look, probably never recalling seeing a pink snow-covered Christmas tree during his boyhood days in Iowa. Meanwhile, I was confident that pink Christmas tree was not going home with us.

My father knew that my mother would never allow a pink faux snow Christmas tree in the house nor anyone who tried to bring such a tree into the house. A Christmas tree with white faux snow, blue faux snow, green faux snow or even gold faux snow probably could have found a place in the corner of the living room.

A Christmas tree covered with pink faux snow would have been as welcome in our house as a pink snake.

I believe that if I had to look at a pink Christmas tree for several days, I’d have to drink something pink — Pepto-Bismol.

Pink Cadillacs are OK. Little girls dressed in pink are adorable. Wearing pink ribbons to raise awareness about breast cancer is acceptable.

But, please, no pink Christmas trees at my house or my mother’s house.

Next year, I may buy a flocking machine, spray Christmas trees with purple and gold faux snow and sell them to East Carolina University fans, faculty and students.

Mike Voss covers the city of Washington for the Washington Daily News. He wouldn’t mind having a Christmas tree covered with a plaid faux snow.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike