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PINK FLOCKED CHRISTMAS TREE, ALCOA ALUMINUM COMPANY, LOS ANGELES, 1955

Alcoa Aluminum Company

When I was growing up the tradition in my family is that we always got our Christmas tree on my birthday –- December 20th, and I got to pick it out. When I was in first grade my parents cut loose and actually let me pick out a flocked tree. Getting a flocked tree is Southern California’s version of having a white Christmas.

We didn’t put lights on it because my worrywart mother was afraid it would catch on fire and burn the house down. Is flocking flammable? We never got one again. But every year, without fail, I dream of having a flocked tree. So this year, darn it, I’ve made up my mind – I’m going to get one! I’m not talking about the ordinary Christmas tree lot variety – a white one – oh no! Been there done that! I want a tree flocked in color – turquoise would be my first choice but I would gleefully settle for mint green, periwinkle blue, lavender, peach or pink.

And that brings me to this week’s slide taken at the

ALCOA ALUMINUM COMPANY, LOS ANGELES, 1955.

Nine lovely lady employees are beautifully uniformed in classic shirtwaist dresses in one of two shades of blue-bright and light. Their white collars, cuffs and breast-pocket trim match the winter white coveralls that the lone gentleman wears so well with black shoes and socks. In the foreground a brown paper bag, probably with someone’s lunch in it, sits on a stained wood desk. In the background a honey blond wood paneled wall and a variety of glossy green houseplants. The centerpiece is unlike any Christmas tree I’ve ever had the joy of seeing. It’s not only flocked, it’s flocked in two-tone pink. The higher it goes the pinker it gets! Christmas inspires so much creativity.

In a half-dozen online dictionaries I looked up flock and not one of them had a definition that had anything to do with a flocked Christmas tree. Flocking is a rare thing. In fact there aren’t a lot of flocked things in this world. Paper must’ve been the thing that was flocked – wallpaper. And God knows we all love flocked wallpaper – especially flocked foil wallpaper! Besides the occasional flocked Christmas tree and fancy flocked wallpaper the only other flocked thing that I can think of are those little bobber-head dogs that people used to have on the package tray between the back seat and the back window of their car.

What is the history of flocking anyway? Who flocked the first tree? We rarely do the flocking ourselves. We let someone else flock for us. But for those who do want to flock themselves you can you can get a can of flock. Yes, flocking comes in an aerosol can. Oh, then that must mean that flocked trees are bad for the ozone? So we wear sun block on the 4th of July so we can have a flocked tree for Christmas.

Here’s to Flocking and you!