Friday, December 01, 2006

To Tree or Not To Tree

My parents are spending their first Christmas in Oregon in years. (Of course, they want us to come, but we don't want to travel 170 miles through the treacherous Columbia Gorge on Christmas day) They have been spending their Christmases in Arizona, so no tree there. They bought a small fake tree and had it out on the patio. (They were snow birds and their little home wasn't built for trees.) They are incredibly excited this year because they get a real tree. A real Oregon Christmas tree.

I have heard all the arguments for fake trees, but I just don't get it. Unless you live in a place where you have to weigh the cost of a real tree against giving presents, all I can think of is, why?
Why have a tree that doesn't smell like Christmas and oranges? Why have a fake funny looking tree in place of a fragrant, dark, magical thing?

One of my daughter's best friends never had a real tree. Mom hated vacuming up the needles till Easter. She used to come and hug our tree before we decorated it. This is a child who will always have a real tree when she grows up.

Did anyone read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? I will never forget the scene where Francie and Neely win the biggest tree on the lot on Christmas Eve. The guy hucked the tree at them and these two little kids managed to stand up as the tree hit them. The prize was the tree itself which they drug home with pride. They'd never had a Christmas tree before and they stood it in the seldom used front room in their flat. There was no coal to heat the room and no ornaments, but Francie would bundle up to sit in the icy room and stare at and smell the tree. Magical, magical.

Living in Oregon means there are tree farms galore. Most cater to families with hay rides, gift shops, petting zoos, and hot chocolate to warm you up after you choose and cut your tree. One old barn even has a giant barrel wood stoveset in the center. The kids, dh and I go out every year to choose that year's festive tree. My son always says, "Everyone has to agree!" My daughter says, "I want a big one this year!" and my husband says, "Don't forget, when we find 'the one' we have to circle it and go Loo loo loo, loo loo loo, loo, loo." (Ala The Peanuts Christmas show.) But we never do. (What does mom say? "I told you to wear your damn boots!")

Somehow I don't think heading off to the store to buy a new plastic tree would be as fun:)

6 comments:

Elisabeth Naughton said...

I agree. I love fresh trees. We get a Noble every year. We used to head up to the wilderness to cut our own, play in the snow and all that, but with little Gremlins it isn't so much fun right now. We hit a tree farm out in Silverton every year. It's high enough that sometimes there's snow there when there isn't any in the valley. They have rides, cider, cookies, the works, just like you mentioned, and the kids look forward to it every year.

My bro and SIL bought a fake Costco tree this year, and I have no idea why. My mother puts up a fake tree too, although since she lives alone, I can see why she wouldn't want to hassle with a real one. But you're right, in the land of fresh trees, it makes no sense to me.

Christine Keach said...

I had a fake tree when I was really little. Ugh, before I was five we had a fake WHITE tree with blue and red ball ornaments. Still, it was special. Then we got real ones for a while and then when I left the nest and had to do it all myself, I bought a fake tree. My dearest wish is to have Christmas with a family that truly gets into the spirit and puts up a real tree. Aahh, a girl can dream, can't she?

Jaci Burton said...

I love the smell of a real tree.

Sadly, hubby and daughter will sneeze their heads off and probably go into allergic shock if I ever brought a real tree into our house, so fake tree city for us. *g*

I grew up with a pink aluminum tree. I actually kinda like the memory of that ugly little thing. Never had a real tree growing up, though my ex-husband and I always brought in a real tree at christmas. Huge mess, still loved the smell of it. And my boys seemed to really enjoy it a lot.

Anonymous said...

Definitely a real tree, and a real wreath for the door. I love to touch the fragrant greens when I enter the house, and bring a little of the cool outdoors in with me.

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