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Friday, December 17, 2010

What Have Christmas Trees Come To?

Being a Vermonter I have a firm belief about Christmas Trees.  They must be real.  Its imperative and mandatory.  It would be blasphemous for a Vermonter to not have a real Christmas Tree, afterall, much of the ones found across the country leaned against store fronts and makeshift Christmas Tree lots come from this fair state. 


As a little child, growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, my parents instilled in me the tradition of cutting down a Christmas Tree.  What was once a hard stuck tradition is now weaning away to more convenient and modern ideas.  Call me a traditionalist, but nothing beats climbing into the family truckster and venturing out into a snow covered field with a saw and dragging a fallen conifer back to be tied to the roof (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Anyone?)

The smell of fresh pine filling your home is better than anything Yankee candle can pull off and then at the end of the Christmas season, which is as soon as I wake up on January 1st, it can be hauled outside and left to become tinsel laden compost.  Really, the only negative part is the needles.  Needles are the bane of my existence.  I occasionally find a stray pine needle in August while cleaning those far reaches that are behind my furniture, but even when I find those dastardly, brown things months later they still make me smile and think of the warmth the tree brought to my home for the brief time it filled my living room. 


I wouldn't settle for anything less.


But some people do...

Artifical trees have been around for decades.  They are so incredibly popular for many reasons, whether its cleanliness, ease of care, convenience, or lack of access to "real" trees.  Rather than getting in the truckster and going for an adventure you go into your basement, attic, or closet, pull out a box, unfold the tree, and stick it in a stand.




Now they come prelit with lights



Fiber-optics


And all whole rainbow of colors!




But for some, even an artificial tree is not what they are looking for either.  Something even simpler than a needleless tree you store in a box most of the year.  It takes up no floor space.  There's no lights.  Nothing more is needed to set it up and rolling and unrolling.  


I give you the "Wall Christmas Tree".  




In tapestry...



or a decal...





It brings the Christmas experience to an all time low.  No more trudging through the snow looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  No more ornaments! Or tinsel! Or fresh smell of spruce that is the best thing next to pumkin pie!  I can't bear the thought of it!  

The Christmas Tree is such an integral part of the Christmas that I don't think it should be messed with, unless absolutely unavoidable.  If I could bottle up the Vermont Christmas Tree Experience and share it I would (see my last post).  Everyone should know what it's like to seek out the perfect tree, cut it down yourself, decorate it proudly in your living room, and put presents underneath it for Christmas morning.  And Especially, a Christmas tree doesn't belong unrolled and pasted to a wall. 

What is your stance on Christmas Trees?  Are real the only way to go? Or do you live in Hawaii and only decorate palm trees? I can't be the only one with such a nostalgia for the real thing, can I?

25 comments:

Rosanne said...

I grew up in PA and we had lots of tree farms to choose from. Now I live in Arizona...real trees are hauled down here from Washington state. Once they get here they dry out so fast that the needles are falling off before you can get one loaded on the back of your truck. Plus, the prices are ridiculous. I caved and bought a perfectly nice pre-lit artificial tree a few years ago. We don't even bother to put it up anymore. Now we head back to PA each year for Christmas to visit family AND their REAL trees! :)

AmyBean said...

Ok, those wall ones are just weird. I think the one with the letters is cute for a decoration, but not a tree substitute.

I grew up with an artificial tree because we had allergies in the family, so I'm ok with them. My husband insists on a real one though, so we have real ones now. But if it's going to be artificial, it should at least try to look real and respectable. I hate the fiber optic ones, and the colored ones (especially the white ones -- they look sickly!). I like my fake trees green, please.

Stace said...

Real! We had an artificial tree when I lived in FL years ago....it was ugly and I hated it. My aunt owns an artificial tree...and where it's nice and really tries to look like a real tree...it's very uniform and blah...no personality at all.
Don't even get me started on the decals..WTH??

SkittleSkattle said...

I'm another reader in AZ and this is the first year we went to the artificial tree. I love the real ones but man, they dry out so fast! And, I just kinda feel it is a waste of money because they are like $80 at Costco!

I like the wall decal with the letters! Totally modern. If I didn't have kids, I might lean to that one!

Kristin said...

I got a new artificial tree this year. I mailed my old one to my friend's unit in Iraq so they could make use of it. Hm. Lovely act of kindness or a good excuse to buy myself a new tree? The world may never know. :-)

My new tree is pre-lit with white lights. I live in Florida, so if I want a nice tree, it's going to have to be fake. And I paid about the same price for the artificial tree that I would have for a real one down here. A couple years before that we lived in DC, and it would have required a long haul out of the city to find a real tree.

Quite frankly, not everyone owns a pickup or always has a husband there to help drag a real tree home. I have an artificial tree because when my husband is deployed, I can venture to the storeroom, pull out the tree, and have it up in five minutes. So don't knock my fake tree! :-)

Glyndalyn said...

Yeah for the live tree1

Katie said...

we had a real tree once, the cutting down part was terrible, the tree was a mess all over the house, and furthermore 50-60 bucks every year just to cut down a tree and stick it in my living room? no thanks.

SharleneT said...

I think it's more what you've grown up and treasure as part of your holiday tradition. But, I do want a tree that looks like a tree! I went artificial years ago for conservation reasons. I grew up in Fla. and got started on the artificial trees in my early teens.

I agree with the poster that not all of us have a big burly guy to help us pack and haul a tree -- much less, cut one down, and I'm too old to go trudging into the woods. On my retirement budget, I can't afford the current prices for even the smallest trees.

But, hang on to your tradition for as long as you can because a real tree does make a wonderful scentful difference during the holidays that is hard to beat. Happy Holidays in your new home!

Anonymous said...

OK - I have to ask. Where did you find the word tree? I do artfical. I l grew up near you in the Adirondacks and went out into the woods to cut down our tree. It is an awesome experience. I now live in FL. Just not the same

Jen at Cabin Fever said...

I found the decal tree featured on a blog I read occasionally... PoppyTalk. You know... I never realized how expensive trees can be! I paid $30 for mine and that is expensive by VT standards. Guess the mark-up is pretty high!

Amanda said...

Growing up we never had a real tree because my mom was allergic. My first tree when I moved out was real and I liked it well enough. I've had a tree maybe 50% of the years since I moved out. I bought an artificial one largely because it has a more workable "footprint" for me. I don't have a lot of extra space in the house (and if I did a fish tank would occupy it, not a Christmas tree) so I like that I can buy a nice narrow tree that looks fairly nice.
I will freely admit that I have considered the wall tree. The cats can't climb it and hurt somebody when they knock it over, it doesn't scratch me and give me hives when I put it up, I don't have to put a screw into the wall to anchor it, and it doesn't take up any space.
I actually kinda like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Vinyl-Wall-Decal-Sticker-Christmas/dp/B002VRVQCQ/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1292616829&sr=8-6
My only real issue is that I do love the lights.

Beth said...

We always got real Christmas trees until we moved from Michigan to the south. In fact, my first real job was pruning Christmas trees (my best friends dad owned a tree farm).

When we moved south and had to pay 50 bucks for a little dinky tree that dried up and was pterified in a week, we went to fake. If we ever move back to Michigan, I will start getting real trees again. Until then, I will stick with the fake one that I got for free at a garage sale. I would still LOVE to have a real one though!

Amanda said...

I've done an artificial tree for years and I like it. I actually prefer not to smell the pine. I think the wall trees are cute, but only as an accompaniment to the actual Christmas tree.

Tony said...

We have an artificial one because the girlfriend's mother can't stand any smells (We can't even have candles are remotely strong body wash). I certainly concur that if reasonable, get a real one. I definitely don't like the prelit, or colored artificial trees. Those "wall trees" are absolutely ridiculous.

And as a side note, they are apparently selling trees in St Johnsbury for $50.

Anja said...

When I grew up we always had a real tree; when I moved to the uk I had an artificial one the first year but it ain't christmas without a real christmas tree for me. Plus it has to be green, why would I want an artificial tree that is not green (if I had one)

Connie said...

Ok. I don't understand all the Florida posts. I am a native Floridian, 47 years old and I have had a real tree more years of my life than fake. We paid $32.98 for a very nice Douglas Fir at Home Depot. When I was single I used to go to the tree lots and pay $50 but not since I discovered how cheap they are at Lowe's and Home Depot. As for it drying out, it won't if you take care of it. (at least in Florida, I can't speak for Arizona) You simply have them cut off the bottom of the trunk and get it home and in water in an hour. If you keep it watered it will last from Thanksgiving to New Years. If you let it run out of water for more than an hour the part of the tree that sucks up water closes up which means it can't drink anymore and then it dries out. I do like a real tree but I have to admit when my kids are grown and gone I will probably get a fake one. No fiber optics or different colors for me but I do like the pre-lit ones. Merry Christmas everyone!

Just Cherish Today said...

Ohh I love your blog - and that adorable header! im your newest follower - come follow me back and lets keep in touch!! enjoy your weekend! :)

www.justcherishtoday.com

Lauren said...

I can understand your nostalgia, and back when I was younger my parents would sometimes use real trees. However, my parents are also very anal when it comes to cleanliness and, you know, after a couple years of real trees they couldn't deal with the mess, so they went artificial. Personally, it doesn't really matter to me. I like the smell of the real thing, but either way, artificial or real, the tree will do its job.

My only requirement is that it be big, as in, not the small dinky tree my mom had to prop on a pedestal to fit presents under one year because she didn't feel like taking down the big tree. I think the idea of Christmas has just gone over the wall. I feel like people concentrate too much on the things that have commercialized Christmas and not on what Christmas is really supposed to be about, and I've been guilty of that before. It's sad because I remember when I was little my cousin and I were playing school, and as the teacher she asked me what I thought Christmas was about and I said presents. She said, no, I was wrong, Christmas is about Jesus, and she was right.

I know that now. In my opinion, people should put forth their best effort to make Christmas as authentic as possible for Christ, whether they believe that's a real Christmas tree, no Christmas tree, whatever. As long as they're doing it in His name and they have their hearts in the right place. I can see how a real tree is symbolic of keeping the holidays an authentic remembrance of Jesus, though I'm not sure that's what you meant by this post.

I don't think there's anything wrong with you preferring the real trees. I just think it's a matter of preference and what people have time, money, etc. for. Stopping by from LBS.

ladylovescake said...

I would LOVE a real tree but in my tiny London apartment it's just not practical this year so we're using our little Chilli Plant as a make-shift one. One day when we have a big beautiful house I hope our place will smell of lovely pine and be something like your place at Christmas. Keep up this fantastic blog! Kat (who stopped by from the Lady Bloggers Soc).

sarah said...

For I think the last 5 year we have an artificial tree due to my youngest having allergies to trees and many other things. I thought about lending him out for the holiday season that's how much I didn't want to get a fake tree. I think it's a WONDERFUL family memorie choosing the tree and cutting it hauling it back. I have a friend that has their family photo took every year at the tree farm with their tree. Now being from Vermont & know their are many naturalist/hippys/going green kind of people up there I can so see the substitute-decal trees being a very "in" thing to do.
To each their own, right?!?!!

Carrie said...

I love real trees. I love the smell. It is a wonderful memory from my childhood.

BUT I have a husband who doesn't see the logic in killing a living breathing thing for a holiday. In his mind that tree makes more sense left growing where it can absorb CO2 and release oxygen into the air.

So we have a fake tree. It is a lovely fake tree but sometimes I long for a real one again :)

Visiting from Lady Bloggers

Anonymous said...

The first year we were married we lived in a small three room upper flat with a small living room and I made a Christmas tree out of cardboard, painted it green and hung it on the wall and made paper ornaments to hang on it. That was almost 57 years ago.

collettakay said...

Living in the mountains of PA, it is a must to set aside an afternoon to go searching for the perfect Christmas tree. The colder out the better. Even freezing rain can't stop us!

I also smile when finding those stray pine needles in the oddest places in the middle of summer.

If someone chooses a fake tree, to each his own, I say.

But, I am aghast at the decals and tapestry. Utterly aghast. I never would have imagined such a thing. Too far, please. Too far.

Stopping by from LBS!

Danni Meyers said...

To true, I grew up with the fake tree and have been doing so since I moved out, but I told my hubby when we have a kid I want to start getting real ones. They deserve that. Who knows maybe it will become a new family tradition? Oh and I am from the Lady Bloggers Society, I am doing the Social Tea Party.

Cheers,
Danni
create yourself blog
http://dannellemeyersphotography.blogspot.com

bluecottonmemory said...

I have my artificial kitchen tree that allows me to release the inner girl within - and then we have the live tree - I call it The Boys Tree - where they can go to town decorating. However, there is nothing more fun than the journey to the Christmas Tree Farm. This year, ours came fully decorated:
http://bluecottonmemory.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/christmas-tree-huggers/

Merry Christmas!

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