Reader Submission: Alsco IT Department

This reader-submitted tree was sent by the IT department at Alsco. It is the second tree to appear on from the company this holiday season ( Thanks for the submission, and thanks to everyone at Alsco for loving Christmas trees as much as we do!

Image loves ingenuity when it comes to Christmas trees, and this tree is nothing if not ingenuous, showing creativity and joy for the season in both the design and execution. The IT department really went above and beyond in order to orchestrate this tree, a fact the end result clearly shows.

Consider all the effort that had to go into creating this submission: looting a supply closet for design inspiration and construction supplies, moving personnel off vital network security duties to hand-make the decorations and lovingly drape them among the precisely strung lights, finding the review of the lobby tree through a link on a (presumably blocked) website, and finally submitting their own far superior departmental offering for us to review. This all points to the kind of initiative and productivity that shatters the image of a stereotypical IT guy, shackled to his roller chair by the very cords that power his world.

If these are the kind of l33t tree designing skills being found in tech-support departments around the city, it won’t be long before the IT world tells SLC “All your trees are belong to us.”

The Evolution of the Chase Tower Tree.

Oftentimes, has the chance to see a tree in various stages of set-up as we compile pictures for our reviews. Today, we are able to give our readers that same opportunity to see the intensive process of a professional-grade tree install at a busy downtown office building.

Vigilant readers may recognize this tree from a previous post, in which we commended the design as a poignant symbol of the cleansing of Christmas from rampant commercialization. It turns out there was more in store from the building managers of 50 West Broadway, and we’re happy to be able to show you each step of this treevolution.

Original, December 6


A tree, naked if not for a modest tree skirt, stands next to a mop inside a bucket. Our initial review ( called the tree “quiet but powerful,” and applauded the designers for shaking off the garland shackles of  department store Christmas ideals and instead stripping the totem to its bare essence. In our eyes, this design needed nothing to be considered finished, but it would only remain in this unfettered state for just under a week before beginning to emerge from it’s Christmas chrysalis into its butterfly stage.

Second Configuration, December 12


In a move toward a more traditional design, nominal amounts of both white and colored lights appear on the tree, hurriedly splashed across as if done buy a guerrilla tree decorator in a rush. The true impact of this addition will be seen shortly, but the fact that no other ornaments or decor adorn the tree allows the minimalist statement to still be heard, if not as loudly.

Final Form, December 18


A well-placed accoutrement meant to enhance the viewer’s overall experience combined with the visual impact of the design finishes off the modifications to this tree. The heater for the comfort of the observers is self-explanatory, but is the inspired touch of the wet floor sign that really draws the eye.

Symbolizing the recently completed cleansing of Christmas (by the mop), and warning of caution as we approach the holiday itself, this final addition gives context to the sparse strands of lights already hung on a tree that was stripped of its commercial leanings only moments ago, showing the futility of pushing against the rising tide of Christmas commercialization.

A tannenbaum neophyte may view this tree as the lazy decorations of a humbuggy building, but that is clearly not the case when it comes to an offering that relies on so much quiet depth to convey its message. Only when one views this multi-stage art installation masquerading as holiday decoration as the versatile and emotional canvass it has been transformed into is one able to truly make out the most honest face of Christmas shown so far this season.

Grand America’s Newest Flower Patch

Being the local business aficionados that we at are means that we keep our ears open for any marketplace news from the downtown area. When we heard that Grand America had finally acquired the long-contested Flower Patch property with which it shares a lot border (, we decided to take a look at the two companies’ Christmas trees and see if we could spot any indicators as to what this purchase has in store for each party.

The Grand America


Obviously, the Grand America has a regal tree design that falls directly in line with the rest of the hotel’s decor. One of a few trees we found inside the building, this one is tucked away just off of the lobby, and is an example of a very traditional style. The motif in play seems to be quiet elegance, an unsurprising choice from a luxury hotel that is owned, in part, by an oil baron. As often found in trees of this style, the richly colored ornaments mixed with the generously applied lights and a subtle but effective tree skirt form a nicely coordinated effort without any individual style or panache.

The Flower Patch


Neatly book-ending our study in tree dichotomy is the quaint little tree at the Flower Patch. Where the Grand America tree was corporate and unfeeling, this tree is the perfect combination of the individuality of the store ambiance and Christmas cheer. It’s an offering that shows the delicate grace and uniqueness of the flower business along with a fun nod to the season’s traditions.

Based on what we’ve seen here, we at predict that big changes are in store for this little patch of flowers. It’s hard to bloom in such an imposing corporate shadow.

The Kearns Building. 136 South Main Street.


The gorgeous lobby of the Kearns building is home to a grand tree, nestled into a corner magnificent enough for its contents. This sweeping and elegant design features ornaments of many shapes and sizes inter-spliced with wispy decorative branches and a light but effective smattering of lights.

The poinsettias and presents piled onto the generous and luxurious tree skirt provide a nice depth to the design while providing an effective barrier between admirer and tree.

This tree alone would be a nice entrant into the world of Salt Lake tree design this season, but the building doesn’t stop there, letting its normally stodgy and stiff triple-threat namesake into the fun.


A portrait of Thomas Kearns, turn-of-the-century mining and business magnate and Utah State Senator, looms over this secondary display, much like his legacy looms over the valley even to this day.

The poinsettias lend a splash of holiday color to those waiting by the elevator, as do the tabletop decorations and red velvet runner. While the sparsely-hung, unlit trees are not the most complete designs, this could have been just another portrait near an elevator, and it’s refreshing to see a building management that really enjoys the cheer-spreading part of the season extend their decor past the lobby.

A ID This Tree Challenge!


In which downtown administration offices do you think this tree stands? We’ll give you a few hints.

1. When it comes to the fundamentals of design and layout for both the administration’s main property and for the tree, there are a number of glaring deficiencies. In fact, the empty storefronts that dot the property offer nearly as many unsightly breaks in consistency as the inadequate number of lights used on a tree this size do.

2. The tree borrows from the same business strategy used by the group on its other concerns, replacing elements it sorely lacks with gaudy and eye-drawing distractions, like the ostentatious star medallion topping the tree, or a slick and shiny marketing campaign. Their plan to cover the otherwise barren tree with as few over-sized ornaments as possible works almost as effectively as their plan to plaster those empty storefronts with advertisements for the new and great things coming soon.

3. Finally, like the thousands of children who come from all over the valley to use the dancing fountains within as a free urban water park, this tree is barefoot in public for no apparent reason. (For the record, it may be even more unseemly and off putting on the tree.)

By now, you must have guessed that this tree resides in the administration offices of the Gateway, and it’s surprising it took you that many hints. This tree is a sad and underfunded talisman reminiscent of the organization itself, and while it’s nice that they tried to keep plugging along with the same old tired approach, it may be time to scrap it all and start from scratch.

Z Gallerie


This tree is from a store that designs and sells things, including Christmas trees. They, of all people, should know better. Gold and silver ornaments on a bleach-white tree? Who wants to open up presents around something that looks like it would give you a chemical burn if you touched it?

This tree would fit perfectly into the secret lair of Mr. Freeze, as played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1997’s Batman and Robin, but he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would buy a pre-decorated Christmas tree. Even if Mr. F was in the market for the most frigid tree ever, it seems like a narrow demographic to target. Then again, what does know about the economics of ridiculous-looking Christmas tree sales?

It is on sale, discounted to move at 30% off lowest marked priced, but while choices dwindle as the big day approaches, even these basement-bargain prices may not be enough to trick someone into thinking this is an actual Christmas tree.

50 West Broadway


The stark minimalism of this design raises a quiet but powerful cry against the commercialism and opulence of Christmas.

The juxtaposition of the mop and bucket next to the blank tree evokes Christmas reborn, cleansed of the greed and corruption of the modern holiday, ready to be decorated anew with the traditions and memories of you and your loved ones.

Also, the tree skirt looks great.


EDIT: This tree design has been updated, and so has our review! See the new post at