Is it Faux Time?

2021 November 28
by Jennifer

For the past week, an 8 foot pre-lit artificial Christmas tree has been sitting in my online shopping cart, but I can’t quite bring myself to checkout. A faux tree would be so simple but there’s something truly magical about the real Fraser Fir experience. Right?  I’m torn. Time for a pros and cons list.  Here we go.

Real Christmas Tree Pros & Cons


  • Real trees smell good.


  • Our family pilgrimage to Home Depot to select from a picked-over assortment of trees. I feel oddly competitive with the other people at the tree lot because we’re all after the exact same thing. Inevitably I want the tree that they have. No good 8 footers left at Home Depot so let’s head down the road to Costco and see what they’ve got.
  • At Costco they don’t let you unwrap the tree from its mesh netting, so must make your best guestimate, essentially sight unseen. In the moment, this decision feels very significant. Despite our advanced degrees, we are woefully ill-equipped and undecisive.  The children are whiny because they were promised hot chocolate and this quaint big box tree lot doesn’t hand it out.  So we reluctantly pick a wrapped tree, pull our car around, and hoist the tree up top.
  • The treacherous drive home from the tree lot with the tree precariously tied to the roof of the car.  I suppose it’s for liability reasons that they make you tie your own tree. We are neither sailors nor Boy Scouts, so our knots are not to be trusted. Especially on the highway.
  • Finally home and we unbundle the tree to discover aggressive asymmetry. Do we put the good side facing the window or the living room? Wait. Is there a good side?
  • Which one of our neighbors is most likely to have an electric saw? Is it weird to only initiate a relationship when we need to borrow a power tool?  Oh well, we need to cut off the lower branches to make it fit in the stand. Hellooooooo neighbor!
  • The great white light test and detangle.
  • The electric shock risk of three children fighting over the same light socket to test the lights. They all worked when we put them in the attic last January, but somehow half of them are dead. Off to the hardware store for more lights.
  • The annual team-building exercise where I delegate the tree lighting to my husband.  I try not to micromanage, but inevitably I have very strong opinions about light density that I can’t help but share. Nevertheless, I would rather him do it than me.  Buuuuuut I’m not loving what he has done with the cords on the bottom.  There is more tension in our marriage on let’s light the Christmas tree day than on any other.
  • By mid-December, the tree is officially a crispy crackly fire hazard. Considering it was probably cut down six months ago, this should not come as a surprise. And was I supposed to water it, or were you?
  • Losing family heirloom ornaments because the dead branches are no longer strong enough to hold them, and they come crashing to the floor.  RIP Mema and your collection of mercury glass decorations.
  • Taking down the tree on December 26th, leaving a trail of pine needles all over the house.  Still vacuuming them out of the corners months later.
  • Seeing our sad dead tree at the curb for weeks because somehow the day we take it down never aligns with the day the garbage crew picks up.  Every time I pull out of the driveway, I’m thusly reminded of how few magical childhood Christmases are left with my three children. Then, “Same Old Lang Syne” by Dan Fogelberg pops into my head, where it, unfortunately, stays until the dead tree gets hauled to the chipper sometime in February.


Real Christmas trees sure smell good.


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