The holidays are a time for excess, and I have never felt that Nativity scenes, Christmas lights, or giant inflatable Santas should be constrained by good taste. Candy Cane Lane? Bring it on. If you can hang lights from it, you should hang lights from it. And I am no snob about artificial Christmas trees, either. The newest models are plug-and-play, and I look forward to the day when they'll have USB ports, so we can control the lights via computer. And yet sometimes you encounter a Christmas tree so wrong, so unholy, so creepy and disturbing, that it must be censured. Such is the case with the white metal structure temporarily planted in the Space Needle parking turnaround. Its hoopy "branches" resemble nothing so much as radio antennas or satellite receivers. Within sight of the Pacific Science Center, and installed on Seattle Center's once-futuristic campus, the tree is like a NASA experiment gone bad. It's a design only Wernher von Braun could love. The antenna could be the tip of a giant robot slumbering beneath the ground, War of the Worlds–style, waiting to destroy us. Instead of conveying holiday cheer and goodwill toward all men, the menacing tree demands your submission; it's like a beacon receiving orders from the angry inhabitants of Mars. Remember the old movie Santa Claus Conquers the Martians? Christmas is the time aliens are likeliest to attack—when we're soft and bloated with fruitcake, preoccupied with holiday bowl games. That's when our new Christmas overlords will strike.
Seattle Center, 400 Broad St., 684-7200, seattlecenter.com. Free. Through Dec. 31.