We now have an artificial tree... :o/ ?!?
For most of you this is probably a normal occurrence. Each year on the designated day you and your family traipse up into the attic or into the back closet and pull out your pre-lit, multi-tier, artificial Christmas tree. You spend crazy amounts of time "fluffing" your tree and making sure each branch is in just the right spot and ensuring there are not any major dark spots or big holes. You realize half-way through that you have small cuts on your hands from man-handling the branches but you press-on knowing the tree will look fantastic when you're finished. You add more lights, ornaments, ribbon, feathers, or other adornments to make your tree beautiful and original. After this process, you're done...you plug in your tree each day or some of you probably even have timers on your trees so they turn on and off each day without even the slightest effort.
When I was in college I do have to admit that I had an artificial tree...it was about 3 feet tall, had about 2 strands of lights on it, and a random assortment of ornaments. However, I spent most of the Christmas season at home and so was still able to enjoy the tradition of a real Christmas tree. You see, for those of us who grew up with a real Christmas tree the experience each year was much different than for those who went artificial. You pile into the car all bundled up with your worst jeans & shoes in hopes of not ruining something good in the muddy fields and head to a Christmas tree farm. You hop on a trailer full of haybales & ride around with complete strangers until you are either dropped off or someone yells---THAT'S THE ONE!!! You wander around the rows of trees walking around each one, examining it closely to make sure it's perfect...or as perfect as a real tree can be.
Eventually your family comes to an agreement and you cut down your tree...the family tree...the tree that will represent Christmas and all its traditions. You bring it home tied up in some net-like thing, determine the best way to get it in the house, and then begin carefully clipping the netting off to avoid pine needles flying all over the house! You spend time carefully balancing it in the tree stand, tying it up (if it's a big one), putting plenty of water in the stand, and sweeping all the random pine needles that have dispersed themselves in every nook and cranny of your house! It's finally time to decorate, but it's more difficult because you have to find a limb that is strong enough to hold the heavy ornaments and you have to carefully try to put enough lights on the tree without knocking off all the pine needles. While the decorating is done, the maintenance isn't as you have to make sure the tree has enough water to survive the 3-4 weeks until Christmas Day. Whew...what a process! and this doesn't even include finding a place to get rid of the precious real tree.
It's because of this that this year I made a decision, to purchase an artificial tree. Even when I first was considering the idea I felt as if I was betraying a Christmas tradition that my family has had for so many years. I was talking with my parents and for some reason I felt I had to have their blessing to even go purchase an artificial tree. I even made Hubby promise that once we have little kiddos around that the tradition will reinvent itself and we will once again head out to a tree farm to pick out the very best real tree available.
The artificial tree is up, not decorated, but in its place & I do have to admit it looks quite nice...the best part was not having to collect all the pine needles & the sap droplets from our floor. Christmas & the meaning of the season will still be very REAL to us, even if our tree is completely artificial.