Regular readers may recall this blog’s comprehensive survey of 141 Shanghai Christmas trees, posted in December. Ever since and, really, before, Shanghai Scrap has taken a keen interest in these Western holiday accessories: who owns them, why, and what happens to them after Christmas. One answer suggests that certain Christmas traditions are universal: namely, the owners have simply forgotten to take them down, despite the fact that the holiday season, by any reasonable definition, is over. But in recent days I’ve noticed a different answer popping up in and around some of Shanghai’s shopping malls: Christmas trees are being converted into Chinese New Year trees. The transformation is usually rather simple, usually requiring little more than a change in color, and perhaps some fake gold coins sprinkled around the trunk. I’ve seen several examples of these transformed trees in the last few days, but none quite so grand as the giant gold tree in front of Plaza 66 on Nanjing Road. First, the tree as it was decorated for the Christmas season:
And, below, the same tree, as photographed yesterday, spray-painted red for the Chinese New Year season. Awesome! FYI: the giant red rose was there before Christmas – then gold, of course – but for some reason I failed to photograph it. If anybody has an image of the pair, I’d be grateful for permission to post it above [UPDATE: Flickr user ybouc tweeted this image of the Christmas-era tree and rose. Thanks!].
This is not the only Shanghai instance of this phenomenon. I’ve seen similar holiday metamorphoses take place in the Grand Gateway mall, and outside whatever that mall is next to Jing’an Temple. Now, I concede that this sort of thing may have been happening in previous years, and I just failed to notice it. But whatever. To my eyes, it’s another example of China’s über-pragmatic recycling culture (indeed, recycling of cultures) at work, where re-use is privileged over re-processing any day of the week. In any case, if you don’t share China’s enthusiasm for the lunar new year (even though you really should), you can always take the dull, developed world approach to recycling Christmas trees, offered here.