It’s a banner day in this suburban household. We set up the Christmas tree, finally. Jack has now agreed to give up his attachment to all things Halloween and has excitedly embraced the season of holly and evergreen.
Okay, not so much evergreen as an imitation of evergreen. Yes, that’s right. We’re the faux-Christmas tree type people. Every year, in lieu of cutting down our tree Jer heads out to the garage as I yell after him, “Make sure and pick out a good one! Big and full, okay?”
And he yells back as he climbs the attic ladder, “You got it! I’ll get the best one I can find!”
He then proceeds to dust off the tree storage jacket and hoists it down the ladder escaping certain death each and every time. We all stand in the living room ready to attack the individual branches, twisting and turning until we produce the best replicate for a real tree we can manage. We plug it in (pre-lit, thank you very much) and stand back to survey the gorgeousness of the Christmas faux-tree.
I haven’t always been a proponent for the fake tree. I grew up the daughter of a logger in a family where the mere thought of plastic branches would have sent shivers down our spines. Every December we would trek out into the great wilderness, most likely to a section of land spotted out well before the snow fell. My dad would cut down our tree with a reverance that only someone with a bonafide respect for the forest could muster. The ol’ family truckster would cart our tree home to be set up in its rightful place in the living room. Mom would flock that tree just to the point of being unrecognizable and on our eclectic array of decorations would go.
I carried on this tradition until about 3 years ago (all except for the flocking because, well,it’s justnot my bag. baby…and I’m pretty sure I can attribute most of my breathing issues and my brother’s general pissy nature to the chemicals in that stuff). Jer and I, along with family and friendswould hike up into the forest scoping out the best looking trees we couldfind. I would bitch at Jer because I was tired of hiking in the cold and was fairly sure I was beginning to lose toes to frostbite,Jer(in an effort to perpetuate all the love)would purposely suggest a tree that was utterly ridiculous, I would tell him he had no taste in trees, he would tell me he had no taste in women (I’m certain he only said this because I was 50 feet below him and he knewitwouldtake an act of God to get me to climb up thesnow-banked hill) and we would finally settle on a tree that neitherof us was all that happy with. The women-folk would then listen to Christmas music and drink hot chocolate bya firewhile the men figured out ways to tie down 10 and 12 foot trees onto the top of our rigs, with someone inevitably forgetting their straps. Ah, those were the days. Such a heartwarming tradition!
And then it happened. I was shopping after Christmas at Michael’s craft store when I saw it. A beautiful pre-lit Christmas tree. On sale. 75% off. Did I mention it was pre-lit? Did I mention that we likened putting Christmas lights on our tree to having our fingernails pulled out…one by one…while listening to Bob Dylan’s rendition of Little Drummer Boy? That putting lights on our Christmas tree brought out several kinds of “ugly” and I’m pretty sure revealed an alter personality in Jer that only presents itself during the holidays? Did I mention that it was 75% off? They were practically giving it away! It was like a sign from God that he didn’t want Jer and I to risk our wedded bliss by wrangling live trees anymore.
I snatched that discount tree up so fast I’m pretty sure the store personnel thought I was going to make a run for it. I wanted to get that tree up and paid for before I changed my mind. I knew that purchasing it would seal the deal…we would convert.
And we did. And I can say that neither one of ushas regretted the change one bit. Ah, sure, there’s certain things about a live tree we miss. We miss the fresh balsam smell and nostalgic feeling of a fir tree. We pretty much don’t miss the dried needles falling off at the mere whisper of a sneeze, the fear of spontaneous combustion with each passing day and the inevitable clogging of the vacuum cleaner.
Faux-tree or real, the symbol remains the same ~ the evergreen symbolizing hope for mankind and faith in our eternal lives.’Tis the season for love, peace and goodwill toward men. ‘Tis the season for comfort and joy. Ah, I love Christmas.
Now, one last thing to pull everything together ~ fresh balsam Glade plug-in, right next to the tree. Hmmm….it’s good.