My Grandpa’s name was Lawrence Stoecker, although most people called him “Bud”. To us, he was simply Grandpa.
He designed his first version of a modern Christmas tree made of concentric rings in the mid 1960’s. He loved making things with his hands and even had his own business building and selling A-frame cabins in the Rocky Mountains. The business meant long hours of work and required the support of the entire family. His four sons and daughter were all his employees.
The tree was originally made of card board, then Masonite board before he finally settling on Plexiglas. He refined the design as well throughout the 1970’s and 80’s. The tree was a highlight of Christmas Eve’s spent at their home near Boulder Colorado. As kids we would put our heads under the tree and look up.
Then he would slowly spin the tree. So beautiful! In 2006 we helped move my Grandma and Grandpa into a retirement community. When moving some stuff in their garage I uncovered his tree. Although he hadn’t but it up for Christmas in nearly 15 years it still brought back many great memories for me. I asked him if I could have it and of course he said yes. I think he got a kick out of me even wanting it.
I put the tree up in my house that Christmas and there it stayed for several years. Shortly after my Grandma passed away he has diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. That’s when I decided to show his tree. I updated it, made some changes and revealed it at the Denver Modernism show in 2011. Would people love it like I do? They would.
Sadly, he passed away on September 25th 2012 a week before I was issued a patent on the design. Weeks later our family celebrated his life at an exhibition of his trees at the original Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. The exhibit continues to be a part of Disney’s annual holiday festivities.
The tree has also been photographed in a few of the most important mid century modern homes in the United States, including the Stahl House in Los Angleles, CA designed by Pierre Koenig and immortalized by the photographs of Julius Schulman. The list also includes the Sculptured House designed by Charles Deaton, later coined the Sleeper House, made famous by the movie Sleeper, directed and starring Woody Allen.
My Grandpa’s signature is laser engraved on the bottom ring of every tree made and a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Alzheimer’s Association in his name.
Bliss keeps these loving memories alive seen in the detailed craftsmanship and design of the Modern Christmas trees, just as his grandfather would have done. It’s our great pleasure that Bliss now offers the tree to you, your family, and friends. Modern Christmas trees are made of durable and lightweight acrylic. Each tree includes an LED light, rotating mirror ball, ornament options and installation kit. Prices range from $299 to $799 in our store front.
It’s with great pleasure that we share our family tradition with you and your loved ones, in the hopes that it becomes your family tradition as well!
From our family to yours, Happy Holidays! Modern Christmas Trees, Matthew Bliss