In Defense of the Fake Christmas Tree
Filed under: Opinions
Growing up, if you'd ever asked me if I'd have a fake Christmas tree, I'd have laughed in your face. The fake trees I encountered as a child were tacky, cheap and, frankly, highly flammable. In fact, my grandparents had an artificial tree that nearly burned down the house one Christmas Eve when my mother was a child. As a result, I spent my childhood thinking artificial trees were the equivalent to inviting a four-alarm blaze into your house as easily as Santa Clause.
As an adult, before we had kids, my husband and I would always get a real tree for the holiday season. Come the day after Thanksgiving, we longed for that real tree smell and would head out in search of a tiny--but real--tree for our little one bedroom in New York City. Getting a tree in New York--and getting it back to the apartment, whether via subway, taxi or on foot--is highly steeped in tradition. It's also hilarious, but that's another story. We'd get sap all over our fingers trying to get it in the house and hope it was the right height and width for our accommodations but ultimately didn't care if it wasn't. We'd try to remember to get the seller to cut off the bottom of the tree at purchase time so it would drink water and stay fresh all month.
Now that we have kids and pets, though, a real tree seems like more time and effort than we can manage. The endless stream of needles on the floor require non-stop vacuuming. My strongest childhood memories of Christmas are of Christmas ham, letters to Santa, and my dad vacuuming up needles twice a day for a month. Real trees also constantly need to be watered--especially if an errant pet keeps consuming that water. Real trees also bring a lot of mold and other known allergens into the house. Finally, disposing of a real tree can be difficult and complicated; regardless of how you dispose of your tree (and when) you'll leave a trail of needles behind you! Finally, with all the money spent year after year on a real tree, that sum could be applied once to a really nice fake tree that looks real and lasts a lifetime. I'll still miss that real tree smell, though.