Real or fake?

Real or fake?

So the big question this time of year is a real heavy weight. It divides friends and family. It engenders much discussion of pros and cons and cost-benefit analyses, tradition versus convenience. In short, which kind of Christmas tree to get: real or fake?

I’m a real tree kind of guy. Sure it’s a pain to clean up the needles and keep it watered, but the impermanence and difficulty of keeping a real tree is part of the feel for the season. A real tree means you can’t put it up after Halloweeen, expecting it to last until New Year’s Day. No, you have to wait, letting Advent takes it rightful pace, and perhaps not until Christmas Eve itself do you put it up, just like our parents and grandparents. Then everyone gathers round and decorates it on Christmas Eve. And it can then stay until the last day of Christmas, the Epiphany on January 6.

What can match the real tree for authenticity? The smell of the evergreen in your home mitigates the deadness of winter outside. No flowers, no cut grass, nothing of life and vitality out there. But in your home, a reminder of the promise of spring. Mmmm.

One of my fondest Christmas memories from childhood is when I was about 7 or 8 sneaking down to the living room on Christmas morning, about 4 am, long before anyone else was awake. I just couldn’t sleep for the excitement. And I sat in the room just staring at the tree with its beautiful smell, pretty lights, and meaningful ornaments, collected over a family’s lifetime, presents piled underneath.

Would a fake tree have been as much for that child? Maybe, but it might not have had the same deep-rooted effect. Even now I can smell the pine needles and see the greenness and almost feel the life in it. Can you tell I love Christmas trees? I bet J.R.R. Tolkien would have wanted a real one too.

  • Tom, I’m frankly surprised. You strike me as a guy who revels in authenticity. I just can’t see you as someone who would settle for a facsimile smell.

    John, okay, I’ll grant you that one. We don’t want you to have an asthma attack. But frankly I think the tangled lights wouldn’t be an issue if you carefully wound them up at the end of the season like Francesca does.

    And now I don’t get up until about 9 am at the earliest on Christmas these days. No kids to wake me up, no presents from Santa to rip through. Ah, the loss of childhood.

  • Oh, gee, John that makes sense. As far as the asthma I mean.

    I’m a real tree person myself. Since I leave it up until Epiphany I don’t put it up until just before Christmas.

    The job I hate, though, is stringing those darn lights. John, you mean your tree already has the lights on the branches?

    Somehow I always thought the fake trees were more of a hassle than the real ones…don’t I vaguely remember an old aunt of mine having to stick each branch individually into its own hole?

  • Wow…just take off the ornaments, leave on the lights, stow it, and that’s it? Definitely NOT my aunt’s fake tree!


    One thing…it IS green, isn’t it? Because I’ve seen Christmas trees that are silver, gold, and plaid. Maybe not plaid, but you know what I mean.

    Why the sheet over the “resting” tree? Dust, I expect. What a country! I had no idea the RAF tree technology had come so far!

    I expect they’re pricey? The “real” ones here (although let’s face it friends—they’re dead. Real, but still dead) can be found at Home Depot for about $20 and they’re quite nice, and tall, and full.

    Well, it’s a poser, all right. Hey, thanks Dom, for bringing it up. Sheesh. wink