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    Auction Finds

    Christmas tree in the form of a Victorian woman

    Even the auctioneer was a bit astonished when the item came up for auction. “It’s the first one I’ve ever seen,” he said.

    He wasn’t alone. It was the first for me, too. Christmas decorations end up on the auction tables throughout the year, and most are new or antique ornaments and lights, a well as boxed artificial trees that someone had left in the basement for years.

    This was an artificial tree shaped like a Victorian woman, about 8 feet tall, with a wide-brimmed hat and long flared skirt – all decorated with red lights. Her arms were on her hips, gloves were on her hands, and her feet extended just beneath her dress.

    It was a show-stopper and conversation piece. It would be a very unusual and unique form to replace the custom Christmas tree in any home. The tree sold for $170.

    An up-close view of the Victorian woman Christmas tree.

    An up-close view of the Victorian woman Christmas tree.

    After seeing this yuletide sculpture, I wondered if there were other examples like it. Googling, I found several other Victorian dresses on mannequins, but none with full bodies. I did find lots of dress-form Christmas trees created by designers and/or handmade (and some not). Among the fanciest were dress forms with greenery skirts that were used to show off Oscar de la Renta designer tops in upscale store windows.

    Hammacher Schlemmer was selling a Fashionista Christmas tree in the shape of a three-dimensional mannequin, seemingly done in much the same way as the Victorian woman at auction. It came with lights and a “perfect” size four waist.

    Most of the Christmas trees were dress forms with a fabric top, and skirt with real or faux greenery. The Pier One site also offered a tree for the “fashionista that had everything,” featuring a real fabric top and a faux pine skirt.

    The full figure of the Victorian woman Christmas tree.

    The full figure of the Victorian woman Christmas tree.

    Another site was selling what was described as an Afrocentric Christmas sticker bearing a holiday tree with a mannequin wearing a red sequined dress with a skirt adorned with greenery, streamers and ornaments. The afrocentric feature were the faux locks on the mannequin’s head.

    Among the others I found were real tree branches painted white, a green dress-form tree with lighted artificial skirt (on eBay, of course, where you can find just about anything), an ebook tutorial and HGTV video on how to make your own, and tabletop versions by a seller who combined her love of fashion and crafting to create Christmas tree dresses.

    Sam’s Club was selling dress-form trees  – including a Halloween witch tree – under its private label Member’s Mark. Some eBay sellers were also offering Member’s Mark trees.

    I no longer decorate a tree for Christmas, but I could get into buying a Christmas-tree dress form, though.

    The flowing and lighted skirt of the Victorian woman Christmas tree form.

    The flowing and lighted skirt of the Victorian woman Christmas tree form.

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