Monday, December 15, 2008

Faking It

Let’s talk trees. I saw an article in Sunday’s Post-Dispatch that claimed that, despite (or perhaps because of) the current economy, that sales of “real” Christmas trees are up this year over last.

Yes, I put the “real” in quotes on purpose. You see, I’m not a fan of killing trees for decorative purposes. I know that many people disagree (and one of my readers even has ties to a family Christmas tree farm). I don’t wish any harm to family-run businesses, and nor do I wish to ban the practice of cutting trees for those who prefer the organic variety. I just won’t buy one myself.

I just don’t see the appeal. ‘Course, I have reasons to avoid the undead variety. Mainly, I’m allergic to them. That oft-lauded pine fresh scent makes my sinuses clog and my eyes water. Thanks, I prefer my décor hypoallergenic.

Growing up, we almost always had a man-made tree. I fondly remember assembling it every year—matching up branches by colored dots that indicated their row, how my dad had to put on the top section because we were too short. It always looked symmetrical, dropped no needles on the carpet, and was guaranteed to fit in our living room, year after year. No saws, no tying-to-the-roof-of-the-car. So, for me, nostalgia is a manmade tree, that looks pristine from Thanksgiving until Twelfth Night.

One year, we did have a “real” tree. There was much wrangling to make the thing fit (they always look smaller outside). There was much vacuuming. There were frequent reminders to water the tree. And then there were the cats. Our cats loved it. They climbed it. They tipped it over. Multiple times. There was more vacuuming, and ornament reassembly. And lots of sneezing.

The tree we had for like 15 years growing up came with me to St. Louis for a year or two, as my mom bought a bigger-and-better tree (that she’s still using) The stand was broken, and several branches had gone missing, and so I eventually replaced it with a $40 one from Garden Ridge (one with only 3 pieces plus the base—no branch sorting required). That lasted for like 8-10 years until I sprang for a pre-lit one last year (which is just another 3-piece tree with the lights already strung). I still have the Garden Ridge tree, and should we decide to set up two in the house, it would cost us nothing but time (we have more than enough ornaments for 3 full size trees if we really wanted).

So, how about ya’ll? Wood or Metal? Any opinions? Feel free to bash artificial trees. I don’t mind lively debate and good-natured mockery. Especially about such deep, personal, religious beliefs as this.

(I’d stick a poll on my blog, but those darned things always crash the web browsers on the two main computers I use. Completely different computers running different browser versions even. Maybe its just me. Sorry, you must actually comment in order to vote)


Amanda said...

Growing up we only did the hunt down a tree a few times. We did it with my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, so it was fun. We had the same Christmas tree as you apparently with all the branches with the dots. For several years, we've had a prelit tree and it is the most awesome invention ever. Last year in England we bought a fake tree for about $15. The vaccuum cleaner over there was utter crap and pine needles would have likely killed the poor thing. I would have brought the tree back with us if we hadn't reached the weight limit. I think the lights for the tree cost more than the tree did there. So for me it's metal and plastic all the way.

flatflo said...

I went to the family Christmas tree farm this past Sunday, and instead of cutting down a lovely tree, my father dug, balled and burlap-ed a live one. It is sitting out on the front porch in a large bucket, waiting for me to make a place for it inside. Once the ground thaws I will have to a) decide where it will live in our yard and b) dig a hole!

HiddenChicken said...

We just got our first tree this season. It's a pre-lit fake one. Fits perfectly in our dining room without blocking any windows or walkways, no vacuuming required.

Kristi said...

I do love the idea of the live trees, if allergies weren't a problem. But after a while I think I'd run out of yard space to plant them all :)