For many years, we had a fake Christmas tree that was well over 6-ft tall and pre-lit, purchased at Costco, I think. When I set up my own household, however, that tree became difficult to manage. It was heavy and unwieldy, and the last year I used it several sections of the lighting went out. I am not entirely handy when it comes to electrical things so I draped extra lights over the burnt-out sections and hoped for the best. When Em and Sarge were kits, they deeply enjoyed treating it as their own personal jungle gym, chewing and climbing, and the end result was a pretty ratty looking tree that always threatened to topple.
Last year, I decided to get a real tree. L and I went to the nearby Christmas tree lot (in the rain) and debated intensely under dripping hoods about the size. I wanted a SMALL tree. L wanted a HUGE tree. We settled on one that didn’t seem so large, neatly netted and mostly stuck in my old Camry. Between the lot and my driveway, though, some sort of holiday alchemy turned this neat little bundle into an enormous, prickly, heavy, wet, dirty thing that I could barely drag onto my porch. Being new to the live tree business, I made a lot of errors – for example, not letting the boughs drop and dry off a bit before I brought it into the house, and trying to put it into the stand inside my living room rather than outside. The stand itself was a joke -purchased at top dollar from our hometown hardware store (which I always try to patronize instead of a big box store but which admittedly comes with a lesser selection and an upcharge). It stated proudly that it was the easiest stand one could buy but I couldn’t help but think this was a remarkable example of false advertising as it was just a big plastic dish with four long bolts that you essentially just screwed into the tree base. The tree fell over on me several times, scraped me, lost half its needles, dirtied up my clothes, entryway, and carpet, kicked me in the crotch and then ate half of my snacks before I got it into a lopsided standing position which I deemed “fucking good enough”. A year later, I am STILL finding needles from that damn thing in strange places. I am pretty sure it slept in my bed and took selfies in my closet.
This year, determined not to repeat last year’s experience, I got a sad patchy little tree from Ikea (which I thought had Scandinavian charm) and Lily looked at me as though I was playing a bad joke on her. “MOM,” she said. “You know the smaller the tree, the fewer the presents, right?”
This article would indicate that real trees are a better choice but now that I have my Ikea tree, if I’m being environmentally responsible, I have to get a solid 10 years out of it. It’s kind of nice to have that choice taken out of my hands for awhile.