Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Shame

Well, I did it. It feels so wrong, but it feels so right at the same time.

I bought an artificial Christmas tree. And I kind of love it.

Growing up, we ALWAYS got fresh trees. Not the pre-cut kind either. We did the whole deal, complete with fighting over which tree to cut down, pouting if your first choice wasn't decided upon, yelling "TIM-BER!" as the tree fell on my dad, knocking him into a puddle of melted snow. Well that was only one year, but we still talk about it.

When I was 12, the house my parents built on a lot they bought 6 years earlier was finally complete, and we moved WAY the heck into the boondocks. The lot in question was a Christmas tree farm before my parents bought it, so for 2 years or so we were able to just walk down into the woods in front of our house and pick out a perfect Christmas tree. And for about 4 years after that, we continued to walk down into the front yard to get our Christmas trees, but they got steadily less perfect as they grew wild and huge. They started to resemble giant bushy columns of pine more than an actual Christmas tree, as we had to trim large sparse portions off the top and even larger portions off the bottom in order to access the part of the trunk that was still small enough to fit into a Christmas tree stand. And since they weren't maintained and pruned as they grew like trees on a Christmas tree farm usually are, when we brought them into the house we brought along with them all the charm of the outdoors. By that I mean pinecones, bagworms, birds' nests, and on several occasions egg sacks of different types of insects which would hatch and crawl all over the house, spreading Christmas spirit. Finally our begging worked, and we began to purchase trees again, with my mom grumbling all the while about having to pay for a tree when we lived on a Christmas tree farm.

Ever since Will and I have been married, we have continued this time-honored ritual and gone out the first weekend after Thanksgiving along with my parents to cut our own tree. But every year, Christmas seems to require more and more preparation, time slips by faster and faster, and this year we found ourselves in the week before Christmas with no tree.

On Sunday, as we discussed how on earth we were going to manage to get out and get a Christmas tree before next week, we came to a realization. Our conversation was something like this:

Sara: We have to get a Christmas tree soon, this week is the week before Christmas!
Will: Ugh. I hate getting Christmas trees.
Sara: It is pretty cold and dirty. And you have to drag it so far.
Will: And I HATE tying it to the car.
Sara: And we can't take a stroller, so Emily would be running around in the mud.
Will: And actually driving it home sucks.
Sara: Yeah, it's always stressful making sure you get home without it flying off.
Will: And I hate getting it into the house, AND getting it set up in the Christmas tree stand.
Sara: It does make a huge mess.
Will: And I hate watering it every day.
Sara: It'd be a pain to keep Emily from playing in the water.
Will: And I hate getting rid of it....

And on we went. We realized that what all this meant is that we actually hate everything about real Christmas trees, except the smell and the tradition of it.

So we decided to get a fake one this year, and that doesn't mean we can't get a real one in the future if our kids want to. So I picked one up last night at Giant on my way home. If we were going to "cheat" and have an artificial tree, we might as well get a pre-lit one while we were at it for maximum convenience. I wanted one with LED lights since #1 they last forever, #2 they are energy-efficient compared to incandescent lights and #3 I like the way they look. Giant had them on sale this week, so that was that. I bought the tree less than a quarter mile from my house, threw it in the trunk and drove it home, and today it took me less than 2 minutes to get it set up and lit. Other than the fact that when you look at an LED light straight on it feels like it's beaming through your eyes and into your soul, I really like it. During a time of year where things can tend to get a little stressful, I'm really enjoying the time savings. I'll just have to get some pine-scented room spray or something to make it smell more authentic.


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