Oh Christmas Tree

30 Nov

Go ahead, let it out. Let out all that Christmas spirit, jolliness, and décor you’ve been storing up since last year.  Dust it off, and spread it everywhere.  Feels good, doesn’t it?  And what better way to usher in those warm fuzzy holiday feelings on my blog than a post on the decoration that I always pull out of the closet first.   That’s right, the tree, or as I like to call it “the glistening centerpiece of the season” (not to be confused with “the reason for the season”).  Although we all appreciate a twinkling tree, achieving the perfect look and ambiance isn’t as cut and dry as I thought.  Here are some of the tedious options you must consider before you cover your tree with ornaments and happiness.

Real or Fake?


First things first, you have to decide which tree will be your tree.  I grew up in a fake tree family and that’s who I still am.  But I am willing to admit fake trees have their pros and cons.  See how rational and adult-like I am?

Let’s start with the Pros:

For one, you can keep the same one for a long time.  My family had the same tree for about 12 years.  It had a good long tree life until it kept falling when someone even thought about breathing on it, and even that generated some great memories.  Also, an artificial tree does not have to be watered, doesn’t make a mess, have a smell or have to be thrown away.   And it will not have a stowaway SQUIRREL!  So basically, a fake tree adds less stress and mess to life. (RHYMING!)

As for cons:

It is not real. And although I never had this experience, I can imagine going to a tree farm and searching for the perfect tree could be a lot of fun.  I can see it now.  After minutes of shopping, I will stop as if frozen and gaze on the one tree that is surrounded with an angelic glow and choral singing.  (Sorry, all my experience is based on Christmas Vacation).  I can see how that could be a fun tradition, and if Christmas is about anything, tradition is one of them.

So someday, when I have a house and more space, I may just try to buy a real tree.  But not this year.

Let there be light!

One tradition that has died recently is stringing the tree with lights.  Now, nearly all fake trees come pre-lit.  At first I was upset, stringing the tree had been my job for years.  I took it as an artistic duty, meticulously spacing those tiny lights to give off just the right amount of glow.  But when I really think about it, that was more hassle than it was worth.  I somehow blocked out the hour or so of detangling and testing the lights.  My family never really mastered the art of labeling the dud strands or storing them in an anti-tangle fashion.   So now, the only set up is taking the tree out of the box.  And that’s ok. It gives more time for those ornaments.

Themed or Eclectic?

This one is easiest for me.  Eclectic!!  For me, a tree not only shelters those shiny presents, but it also serves as a mini-museum for all the Christmases that went before.  Most families have some sort of tradition of adding an ornament or two for each kid each year and mine was no different.  So now, when I put the ornaments on my own tree, I see those cute little ornaments I made back in 95 or remember the ballerina phase I went through.  I think a themed tree looks really nice, but it lacks personality and family warmth.  And yes, I’m sticking with that rather bold statement.

What really matters

Ok, what really matters is that you have fun putting up the tree.  Make it an event.  Blast that Christmas music (the second thing I pulled out of Christmas storage) and get to work.  I’ll even give you bonus points for providing warm beverages and super bonus points for baking cookies.  (Store those points up; you never know when I’ll let you cash those in for high fives or hugs!)  Then, really look at those ornaments and remember what they meant to you, and what they mean to you now.  Sure, it looks like I borrowed my tree from Charlie Brown this year, but I have all those warm fuzzy memories of putting it up with Ike (and of Buster running away from it).  And that is what really matters about the business of Christmas Trees, not the realness or fakeness, not lighting to perfection, but the experience.

So if you’ve already put up your tree, good for you!  And if not, get to it and remember what really matters when it comes to trees.

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