The Debate Continues

A columnist for my newspaper this morning extolled the benefits of having a real — as opposed to artificial — Christmas tree.

As “virtues” he cited the “fresh pine scent,” the joys of buying local from a Christmas tree farm, and the delights of getting your tree home to decorate it.

Obviously, he didn’t grow up in my house.

I recall far too many Christmases trekking through the cold and snow to find a real tree, wrestling the thing into the trunk of the car, driving back home, maneuvering the prize out of the car, and discovering it was too “fat” to fit in the stand.

Then we had to hoist it onto the front porch, dig through the garage to find a saw, shave the sides of the trunk, and place it back in the stand, where it quickly became obvious the tree leaned a bit to one side or the other and had unusual “bare” spots. By the time it was erected and inside, nobody wanted to continue the decorating — needles were strewn all over the floor; angry and hurt feelings thickened the air.

No wonder something like 50 to 75 percent of people now go with an artificial tree! Consider the advantages:

* Cost. Once you’ve made the initial investment in an artificial tree, it’s yours. No more shelling out money every year for gas to search for that perfect specimen. No more annual cash outlay to purchase it.

* Convenience. Store your artificial tree in its box, get it out as early as you’d like (hey, even keep it up all year if you want!), and know just where to find it when next Christmas rolls around. Most are easy to put up, too.

* Upkeep. Artificial trees don’t need to be watered. So you can keep Fido from lapping up the sugar water and forcing someone to constantly refill the stand.

* Fires. Real trees eventually dry out. A dry Christmas tree can go up in a blazing inferno. Who wants to come home to find their home in flames?

* Cleanup. Artificial trees generally hold their needles whereas real ones don’t. If you get a real tree, you’re going to be constantly running a sweeper or something to keep the dried needles picked up so Fido won’t swallow one.

* Allergies. Many people are allergic to Christmas trees (in particular the sap but also the pesticides used to grow it). Don’t force your guests to choose between visiting you in your home and avoiding you like a plague!

* Snakes. I suspect the last thing most folks want in their homes is a snake or other critter. However, there have been occasions when just that has happened (do a Google search and see how often!)

* Practical. Trees belong outside, you know. If you insist on having a real tree, get one that can be re-planted outside rather than using one for a couple of weeks then tossing it out with the trash!

What’s your preference — Real or Artificial Trees?