Wednesday, December 15, 2010

O Christmas tree, how ever-synthetic your branches

Each year I am faced with the same Christmas dilemma...real or fake?  The pure, fragrant, traditional, nostalgia of a real tree?  Or the hassle and mess free ease of an artificial one?  Years ago we started using an artificial tree and haven't really looked back, except that for the nagging sense of guilt that I feel every year as I pop the tree up, lights and all, in two minutes flat. 

You see I'm the kinda girl that takes a certain pleasure in the simple things this world offers - home cooked meals, baking from scratch, walks in the woods, you get the idea.  And I really try hard not to get caught up in the commercial consumerism that has become Christmas for so many people.  So an artificial tree kinda goes against my beliefs, if you will.

But then I remember.  You see, putting up the Christmas tree brings back some childhood memories that are the complete opposite of joyful or merry.  After my parent's divorce, there wasn't a handy man around to do the manly things required to get a tree from the lot to your living room (like strap a tree to the roof of the car or saw off the bottom branches).  My mom didn't let that stop her by any means (she's a champ) but the going was tough.  By the time we had the tree home and ready to go into the stand we were all pretty worn out.

Ah yes.  The tree stand.  I'm pretty sure they've come a long way since the last one that I had to deal with almost 20 years ago (for you real-tree people I truly hope they have), but the one I remember was green metal with four curved legs coming off of a round bowl.  There were 4 bolt-like pegs that poked through the bowl so you could tighten them into the trunk of the tree to hold it up. 

It sucked.  I vividly remember my brother and I fighting to hold the tree upright as my mom tried to tighten those stupid pegs to secure the tree, all the while we were getting poked in the hands and arms by a thousand little needles.  After what seemed like hours of battling to get the tree just UP, we still had to untangle and string lights.  Once the tree was finally decorated, it would inevitably fall down in the middle of the night and we'd have to start over again.  I remember one year all three of us ended up crying over the tree that just wouldn't stand.  That was the last year we had a real tree.

I guess all the memories aren't bad.  I do recall the excitement of running through the maze of freshly cut and snow covered trees with my brother trying to pick the perfect one.  And of course there's the unbeatable fragrance of pine in your home.  And once we finally did get the tree up it was always beautiful.

So I do feel a little guilty having an artificial tree, but not nearly guilty enough to go back and relive that nightmare.  Plus, the baby would totally just eat the needles and I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be good.  Oh yeah and I'm also saving the planet a little by not cutting a tree down.  So there.

1 comment:

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