Every Christmas as a child, my dad lugged the oversized cardboard box down from the attic. Mom and Dad would pull the mangled, plastic greens from this box and snap the limbs in place. Then, mom would spend a solid 20 minutes fluffing each branch so the tree wouldn’t look like an elephant accidentally backed into it.
My favorite part was always hanging the ornaments; unfortunately, the rat’s nest of lights had to be straightened out first. This step usually took a great deal of time and resulted in aggravation and the occasional strand being thrown across the room.
I’m not sure why we didn’t just get a tree with pre-stranded lights? Actually, I don’t think those had been invented yet!
As a side note: Garden Ridge has a nice selection of trees for those fake-tree families. Most of them do come pre-lit and in a variety of heights and diameters. Additionally, if you are bored by the traditional evergreen, you can purchase an ever-orange, ever-hot pink, or ever-red tree; trees every color of the rainbow for $99.
I was a faker until I met my husband. While dating he converted me and we are raising our children in a real-tree home.
It’s become a Brashear family tradition to pick a full, mostly balanced, six to eight feet Fraser Fir. The Hallmark version of this story would include a trip to the tree farm, saws, and tromping through the snow—maybe someday. With two small children, convenience takes precedent, so our tree came from the well-organized outdoor garden of Home Depot.
Attributes of a real tree I love: the pine scent and its individualized form.
Attributes of a real tree I don’t love: needles on my floor; it needs water; sap; screwing it into the base while trying keep it from leaning; wrapping lights on real needles hurts my hands. Plus, when Christmas is over, I have to take it to the designated recycling area and then vacuum out the back of my minivan.
Now that I’ve actually made a list of pro’s and con’s, I’m not really sure why I’ve converted.
I suppose it isn’t the authenticity or artificiality of the tree that matters. What matters are the memories made around the tree. The loved ones we share those memories with. Remembering the Christmas traditions of my childhood, instantly transport me to a safe, loved, feeling of home.
I pray that my children are burning similar memories and emotions into their minds. Even if Christmas trees in their adulthood might muster memories of Mom hanging the lights and shouting, “OUCH!”
Jessica Brashear is married with two children. Read her blogs here on momaha.
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