Saturday, November 26, 2005

From Real to Fake

We have a fake Christmas tree and I'm only a little not ashamed to admit it. This is practically sacrilege here in the Pacific Northwest, the Evergreen State, the home of lots of trees and at Christmas-time, lots of lots of trees. Oh, sure, there are photographs of the childhood me posing in front of an shiny silver tree which had its own cool color-changing spotlight, but when my family moved from the Midwest to the Northwest, all that fakery ended.

From that moment on, no more imitation trees. In fact, after my dad married his second wife, we took things a step farther and had living trees, their roots wrapped in burlap, in our living room. (We planted them after Christmas.) Some of my relatives had fake trees and I thought that was weird and wrong. (One of my great-aunts kept her fake tree up until February, which is beyond weird and wrong.)

When we moved to Michigan, our twins were 19 months old. Since we moved right before Thanksgiving, we decided not to have a tree at all. We reasoned that the boys would never remember and the daunting task of protecting a Christmas tree from lively almost-two-year olds was too much. But by the time they were three, we not only had a tree, but we did the fairytale family outing to a Christmas tree farm. We tromped through deep snow, pulling the children along by their arms, until at last, we found an acceptable tree.

Felling said tree was not a joyous holiday event. The saw the farm gave us was faulty or we were uncoordinated, but the task frustrated us and sucked the holiday joy right out of the experience.

That tree left sharp needles in our carpet which poked into our tender feet when we least expected it--even months later. And for whatever reason, I ended up being the person prone under the tree, wiggling and screwing the pitchy wood into the rickety tree stand. Snow melted and dripped into my eyes.

The next Christmas season found me great with child and I and my pregnant belly insisted that we get a fake tree. I couldn't stomach the thought of struggling with a real live Christmas tree. So we abandoned our smug family ideas and kissed the picture-worthy cutting down of tree outing goodbye and joined the fake tree club.

My husband purchased a fake tree at Sears for a hundred bucks. We've been using it ever since, so I figure that the current cost of that tree is about $12.50 a year. Do I miss the smell of an evergreen tree in the house? Sure. That's where Yankee Candles come in handy. Do I miss stepping on pine needles? No. Do I miss trying to keep a tree from becoming a flaming fire hazard? No.

Am I deeply ashamed to feature a fake tree in my home? Well, let's just say I am shallowly ashamed of my fake tree. At least it's a fake pretending to be real, unlike the silvery fake of my earliest days.


Blogger Lisa said...

I always grew up with real trees, and swore I'd NEVER have a fake one.

Guess what's sitting in the corner of my living room as we speak?

Yeh... I caved. (I'm a Pacific NW'er, too so I understand the pressure.)

I do really miss the smell of fresh pine, and I've yet to find a pine scented candle that doesn't make my house smell like one of those car pine freshener thingies.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I imagine you exchange fake gifts too;) I hope you don't hang up fake mistletoe.

2:17 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

The last real tree my family purchased had obviously been sprayed by a cat. Of course, we did not know this until it was lit and fully decorated.

It was gross, and drove our kitty CRAZY.

5:08 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

The part I can't face is cutting down a real, living tree just for a month of decorating our house. Oddly, I have been willing so far to buy one that someone else cut down, but haven't been willing to be the hatchet-person.

Is your current tree silver, too?

7:37 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

Ah, I remember well those rotating spotlight thingamajigs. Did it just have different colors, or did it have shapes as well?

My parents vacillated between fake and real, with fake winning in the 70's and then pretty much real from then on.

We chose not to have a Christmas tree for Mr. P's first Christmas, as he was practically a newborn and I was having enough trouble as it was.

For someone who considers themselves to be fairly eco-friendly, I have a huge blind spot when it comes to live Christmas trees. I really like them.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Sis said...

The silver tree is kind of creepy. Please tell you at least have a green tree!

11:16 AM  
Blogger The Dung Beetle said...

I also purchased a fake tree from Sears... and though I do miss having real trees, I don't miss the hassle that comes with em.

We'll just spray that pine mist on it or use the candles you mentioned to get into the spirit.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous byucat said...

My Number Two Mom, Hubbies mother, still has the same silver tree and lovely light they had over 38 years ago. The grand kids think it is "neat". LO If they only knew....
this is my first year with the children grown and out on their own..tree??? still thinkin...fake...maybe....first time for everything...
i do enjoy yur blog and will maybe start one myself

2:39 PM  
Anonymous karri said...

I hear you sister! There are so many reasons that a fake tree is better that they aren't worth listing - and the only reason the live tree is great is the "experience" maybe and the great smell. While the one year of dealing with all of the insects that followed a particular tree was fun - not watering our fake and not worrying about leaving town during the holidays is awesome!

We joined the fake tree club about five years ago and aren't looking back!

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Kismet said...

A Portlander here saying, I wish I could talk the hubster into a fake one but he is very traditional and won't even think of it. Well, then YOU decorate it, water it and take it down on New Years Day, lovingly packing each ornament. Yeah, I thought not.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Darling said...

Another Paciic Northwester who has not one but four fake trees up every year. yep you heard me! I'm done with the mud and the pine needles and the fire hazards. Done I say! Bring on the fake ones. One of the best things about them is that you dont have to wait for hubby to decide it's finally time to get one; like two days before christmas!

5:19 PM  
Anonymous mopsy said...

From real to fake...isn't that the progression of a certain type of high-maintainance woman? It seems to be the natural progression these days.

Here in Colorado you would expect to find a lot of real trees, but most people I know have fake trees. Except for us. We always buy a real tree (hestitate to say it's live). Even the Yankee ingenuity at that candle place can't replicate the real thing.

I spend December inhaling deeply. Pine!

5:35 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

We totally have a fake tree and I so don't care! Those stupid needles sticking all over everything were enought to cure me of my love of real trees in the house! We do have a real tree that grows out in the back yard though. It is quit lovely and smells very nice. That is good enough for me.

11:23 PM  

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