Editor’s Pick
NOVEMBER 28, 2010 7:51PM

Artificial Christmas Trees: What Would Jesus Do?

Rate: 10 Flag
Christmas season is upon us, but you don't need this old scribe to tell you something so obvious. Between Halloween and Thanksgiving, it's like a lawn mower that takes a couple of cranks, sputters two or three times and then, usually on Thanksgiving night, roars to life with more decibel fury than the 1977 Motörhead arena tour.

I witness it every Thanksgiving evening on the ride home from Grandma’s house in our sapphire blue 2003 Kia minivan. Before the take-home turkey has even cooled inside the washed out Cool Whip container, my family’s thoughts and comments have shifted to Christmas.

Naturally, mine do as well. I can't help but ponder the new set of ads I'll see, and how long it'll take to become disillusioned with the rampant consumerism in our media. I envision the following holiday campaigns:

“Cialis for the holidays. Isn't it time you got that tree up?”

“From our children in China to your children in the developed world, Merry Christmas from your friends at Wal-Mart.

“America, you ate 46 million birds on Thanksgiving. What's the big deal about a few more who died a slightly different way? Come back to us...please. Happy holidays from B.P.

This weekend, we solidified our seasonal plans. It's almost like a little board of directors meeting, deciding for whom we'll bake or buy something, when we'll we get the girls’ pictures with Santa (Sure, they're fifteen and ten years old, but traditions die hard.), and most importantly, when we'll get the tree.

Naturally, the Christmas tree is the central focus in any Yuletide setting. Your house can ooze with Christmasness, but if there's no tree in the corner, it's like...I don't know...Rush Limbaugh without a bra, or a McRib sandwich sans ground up cloven hoof. 

We've always come home with a real tree; that's all I've ever known. One of my earliest memories is venturing out with my dad into rural western Washington to legally chop down a tree along county power lines. Hopefully, yearly exposure to high tension wires isn't the reason my elbow sprouted a couple of molars and a goatee, but I grew really fond of the hunt for the perfect tree out there with my old man. That woodsy living room smell is synonymous with Christmas.

That's why today's board meeting left me reeling a little bit. The family decided to finally get a fake tree, but to pick up some seasonal greens to garnish our house and soften the blow of no more wood pitch on the carpet. We asked ourselves, what's the point of driving forty miles to a tree farm, sawing down a nicely manicured, conical evergreen, paying sixty bucks and driving back? 

None, really. We resolved to channel the time and expense toward hosting friends for a Christmas open house. Sure, there are some upfront costs, like the artificial tree and a new red reindeer sweater and pipe for the man of the house. 

And I should probably go to the dentist about my elbow.

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The Ace of Spades!
Rated Highly for humorous content
I always insisted upon a real tree -- despite the "year of the tick-infested tree" and the "year of the instantly brown tree" and "the year of the brown tree that was sprayed green but we didn't realize that until we'd paid $50 bucks." But what nudged me to the fake tree was the year my husband took our tree outside the day after Christmas and set a match to it...and it exploded, a huge fireball.

Our house is built so that a large, high-ceilinged great room separates the downstairs master from the upstairs bedrooms. If that tree had caught fire (and it wouldn't have taken much) my children would have been trapped upstairs.

After that....fake tree. The one we got looks alarmingly lifelike. In the green sense, I have to believe that using the same tree over and over again has to be a better choice? I don't know, really. I just sleep better knowing a short in the lights won't incinerate our house.
Bellwether, I'm sold. Very convincing, so thanks!
Heheheheh! Happy Holidays! xox
The thing about having an artificial tree is that you can always opt for a real tree some years and some years put up the fake one and if you leave it up until mid-February (Mardi Gras), it's not endangering anyone. Real trees are lovely, but you can use the bucks for something else, like a toy fund. I remember going to the country for a tree a couple of times and the Christmas after Katrina we drove 45 miles to a town that had real trees because the few near us had been sold in a matter of days. We bought a giant and put it up in my aunt's house. Ornaments? We just made those out of whatever we had around the house. No one helped us drag that sucker out in the end.
I just drove through what appeared to be Christmastreelandia (Wisconsin) and we realized that some folks might be making their living this year selling trees. I still think that an artificial tree is probably a good idea, but maybe you can split part of the cost difference with a donation to your local food bank. Remember that smaller trees will look fuller underneath with the same or fewer gifts, so don't go too big on this one.
We used to by a live tree with the roots in a wooden box. After the holidays we took it out and planted it in the yard.
We used to by a live tree with the roots in a wooden box. After the holidays we took it out and planted it in the yard.
Great recap of shared holiday angst, budget and fun!
What would Jesus Do? Seeing as he was a hippie in Berkely by the sea, I suspect he would try to smoke the thing.

I have a 3 footer replete with lights I picked up last year to add some semblance of holiday cheer to my divorce apartment shared with my daughter part time. I can see a few of the ornaments over in the corner by the TV stand and am looking at the Bah-Humbug hanging I never took down. Christmas 24/7 in the Heartbreak Hotel, baby. The tree was packed with the stuff on it, so it will be an easy out whenever the spirit moves my daughter....
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When I was a kid people bought trees made out of aluminum. The kit came with a rotating base the tree turned and the red and blue lights at the bottom illuminated the obj' d' art. Talk about tacky, talk about Americana, just beautiful.