When my husband and I first married, we were diehard holiday traditionalists and DIY-ers. We vowed to have a real Christmas tree each holiday. The whole family would select a tree and bring it home. But the kids have grown and finally reality hit me like the felling of a tree. I realized that I was doing all holiday decorating alone and it wasn’t so much fun anymore. And I’ve become that Scrooge mom who uses an artificial tree. Here’s a discussion on real Christmas tree vs. artificial tree, including safety, cost and health considerations. Here’s the conclusion: a real Christmas tree is more fun for families of young kids but an artificial tree is the more practical choice.
In 22 years of marriage and four children we’ve made a heaven of happy memories, many of which revolve around the Christmas holiday. Bundling starry eyed children for the winter weather, wandering through snow bedazzled woods on a chill December evening, the smell of a wood fire and more snow on the air. I get all schmaltzy remembering our wizened elfin neighbor’s Christmas tree farm, his log cabin home lit like a pretzel and issuing forth holiday carols and sugar cookie incense. I recall the family looking over every evergreen tree like a potential new best friend. How sweet it was to find the one we all knew was “perfect tree.” There was such joy lugging our trophy tree home, enjoying how it perfumed out home, decorating it with all the kiddies’ homemade ornaments, sipping cocoa and admiring our treasure. There can’t be much wrong with a world that has Christmas trees. Such happy times.
But they weren’t always so idyllic, if I’m honest. Our beloved neighbor passed away, and the Christmas tree farm closed up. Selecting a tree devolved to sorting through dead, dried out, sprayed-green Christmas trees in the bargain corner of the lot (because we didn’t want to spend $50 for nicer Christmas trees.) Then followed the infinite agony of trying to tie a brittle, crumbling tree to the roof of the van, driving at a snail’s pace lest the tree should fly up and thrash about like the boom of a sailboat.
Once home, I had the onerous task of single-handedly erecting what was in effect a piece of kindling while incurring numerous scratches and injections of pine venom. All of which gave me a unpleasant allergic reaction. Not to mention having to completely rearrange the house, move huge pieces to make room in our small home. Very few Christmas trees have straight trunks, especially the cheap Scotch pine. So I had to tie the tree to a wall to prevent tipovers. Did I mention that a real Christmas tree poses huge fire safety issues?
So, this still-sentimental, but wiser mom bought an artificial Christmas tree with pre-strung lights and a convenient attached stand. I got in on sale for $40. Artificial Christmas trees come in different sizes, so I got a narrow artificial tree which fits perfectly in one corner with no rearranging of furniture, cursing or hernias. This artificial tree comes in three pieces which assemble in a snap. It closes like an umbrella and stores small. Just open, fluff branches and plug in. It disassembles in less that five minutes, goes back in the carrying case–no more wrestling a pokey, dead tree to the curb, raining needles all the way. Sure I miss the real Christmas tree traditions. But I don’t miss the mess, expense and fire safety dangers and headaches of a real Christmas trees.