Monday, December 19, 2011

Real Tree, Fake Tree

My cousin emailed me a couple of day ago with the news that, for the first time ever, her family had a real Christmas tree. This was a strange thought for me, as our story has been quite different.

For years and years we used to have a real pine tree for our Christmas tree. Dad would set off, two weeks before Christmas with an empty van and one son in search of the perfect tree. Many hours and several tree farms later they returned, always with a beautiful tree shedding it's needles in the back.

Then the stand was nailed onto the tree and the boys and Dad carried it in through the door, covering the carpet with more shed needles.

The real tree filled the house with the smell of pine. Every day the floor needed cleaning, but the real tree was so perfect for us that we never minded the extra work it caused.

But then, two years ago, disaster happened. The van returned without a tree of any kind. The tree farms had no trees for us.

What to do? Dad had checked everywhere for a tree. Were we doomed to a treeless Christmas?

No, it wasn't that bad. We were only reduced to a fake tree. Mum and Dad bought one at once and we girls started to put it up. I was ready to hate that tree. How could a fake tree compare to a real tree? There was no possible way.

But I couldn't hate it for long. The tree hardly shed any needles. It went up so much easier than the real tree. It even looked real. The only thing missing was the smell. And, though it was fake, it was a tree.

This year I don't mind the fake tree. It can't help not being real. And it does it's best to be a real tree. Plus there is space for all our many ornaments.

I love real trees. I love the smell and the mess. But the fake tree is tidier, more perfect, and can be used year after year. It's not real, but it is still a tree. And I don't hate it. I think I might even love our tree.


  1. I love fake trees. They are so nice and tidy. This year we found a lovely little pine scented thing that you can hide and hang in the tree, so now our fake tree looks and smells real...but isn't. Your tree looks beautiful!

  2. Hello Imogen!

    This is Arafea from the blog A Catholic Teen Perspective ( I just wanted to thank you for your comment on my Advent post, and apologize for how long it took me to respond to it!
    I just added your blog to my list; happy last week of Advent!

    God Bless!

  3. Jessica, our tree had a major flaw this year. After we finished decorating it, we found one string of lights was mostly broken. That meant an emergency trip to the shops to buy some more, and a morning spent undressing most of the tree, changing the lights, and redressing the tree. It's the first time I've decorated a tree twice in a year!

  4. Arafea, I have a hard time remembering to answer all my comments too, so don't worry about it. It was fun just writing the comment and remembering all our traditions.

    Thanks for following me!

  5. We've almost always done a fake one, which is nice clean-wise, but we do miss the pine-smell. Pros and cons, eh?

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  6. I grew up with a real tree every year. Sometime after I got married, we bought our first fake tree. There are parts of me that miss the real tree... but I can't say they're strong enough to make me want to get one again!

  7. Your post made me smile. We do real trees, but all those needles really are a hassle! And as long as the fake tree is trying to be a real tree, it's acceptable. :-) God bless!

  8. Sarah Allen, I miss the smell, but the pine needles dropping on the floor are sooo hard to clean. As you said, Pros and cons. Lots of pros, but a few cons of regret.

  9. Peggy Eddleman, we were always lucky in that when we had a real tree, there was always a lot of us to clean up the mess. But now there's less cleaning to do. It's just one step more to making Christmas easier and less busy.

  10. Clare, You're lucky to have a real tree. We don't buy our tree until a week or two before Christmas, and there aren't many left then. I'm glad my post made you smile. We need more smiles!