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:)