Living “The Twelve Pains of Christmas”?

fake_vs_real_christmas_tree

Let’s Try a Fake Tree

Ever feel like you’re living in the song “The Twelve Pains of Christmas”? Last year for me it was “rigging up the lights”, and this year it’s “finding a Christmas tree”. It all started a couple weeks ago when I was checking the lights. I remembered how we had to tie the tree to the curtain rods last year to keep it from falling repeatedly. I thought “maybe we should try a fake tree this year”. My husband had been trying to get us to agree to a fake tree for convenience sake for the past few years, but the kids and I always wanted real trees. Home Depot was having a sale for 20% off fake trees, so be packed the family in the car to go check out fake trees. What a disappointment that was – the nicest looking trees from 6 ft away were very plastic and cheap looking up close and still $300 after the coupon!

No New Fake Trees

OK, so a new fake tree was out. Then I was voluntold I was hosting a holiday party in six days and I still hadn’t decided what to do about a Christmas tree. I asked around in my family to see if anyone had one they weren’t using. My stepfather could write a book on dumpster diving, so he had a couple trees for us to look at. I went to his house and picked up a very battered box that was being held together with duct tape. That should’ve been my first clue, right? Well, I got it home and we started setting it up. Strings of lights were wrapped around the top tree piece so the branches wouldn’t all fall. My husband and I were still trying to untangle it when my daughter came down the stairs and cried “Ugg, no! It’s not full enough!” Then my son said “and it’s not tall enough”.

A roll of duct tape and a call to my stepfather later, and I was on my way back to my parent’s house to trade in this tree for a different one. I had specific instructions to set the new one up there to check it out before I brought it home. Thankfully, my Mom had it all set up by the time I got there. It wasn’t great, but it was free and could do in a pinch. We packed it back into the box and I brought it home. It was still a no go with the kids, and honestly, it made me a little sad when we had it together and in the tree spot. I don’t think it would have held even half my ornaments. Five days till the Christmas party and still no tree!

Borrowed Christmas Tree Was a Bust

That left finding a real tree. The past few years we had been getting our trees from a little farm in a nearby town run by a really nice older couple. It’d been a lovely tradition to go look for a tree there where the old man would cut it down for us and give the kids crackers to go feed the ducks and the fat little donkey. Nice, right? But no time for that this year, only four days till the party! So I called the local tree farm and found out there was a stand about 20 minutes away that was open at night. We needed to stop at Lowe’s for an outdoor light sensor/remote thingy and decided to look at trees there first. We walked in and found a great tree right away, tall and full – what a beautiful tree! It was $73. I had sticker shock. We’d been paying $35 for the past five years at the quaint little tree farm. We looked at a few other cheaper trees and left because nobody was around to help ureal_vs_fake_christma_trees and I was a bit disheartened.

We ended up at the tree stand of the local tree farmer. They had plenty of helpful people
around and one of the teachers from the local junior high was our personal tree presenter. We found a nice full tree for $40. It’s shorter than we prefer, but it still makes everyone happy. We got it home, put it in the stand and put the lights on that night. The rest of the decorations finally got on the day before the party! Whew! Christmas tree was checked off the list.

Fake Vs. Real Trees

So this whole ordeal got me to thinking about which is better for us and the environment. Some of the pros of fake trees is they are easy to put up and take down, cheaper over time and there are few pine needles all over the floor. I found out this year that some of the cheap ones do shed plastic pine needles, but not nearly as badly as real trees shed. After reading a few different articles on real vs fake Christmas trees, I realized that there isn’t really a consensus on which is better for the environment. But, overall, real trees appear to be better for our health and the environment, as long as you recycle the tree. If it gets thrown in the trash, it’s not so good for the environment. And, even though many tree farms use pesticides on their trees, real trees are still better for us than the toxic plastics in the fake trees. Old fake trees may even contain lead!

The Countdown is On

Now there are only 10 days to go until Christmas, or less if your celebrations start on the 23rd like ours. Do you have your tree yet? If you’re stressing about that and other stuff, then check out last week’s post on how to stay healthy even when stress is high. And if you have to live a Christmas song, I hope it’s Silver Bells or Let It Snow.

 

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