|I’ve read a couple of articles recently discussing the pros and cons of artificial Christmas trees. Evidently, some people, while not exactly in the pro group, have come to see the many advantages of being owners of an artificial tree.
Years ago, I bought a beautiful seven foot fake fir and have never regretted doing so. Primarily, the best result of my action was the transformation, a la Ebenezer Scrooge, of my husband. He finally put into words feelings he had suppressed for years.
Turns out, that buying, or worse, cutting a living tree made him feel miserable. Worse, was having to throw it out at the end of the Yuletide season. I, the original tree hugger, had married one. What a wonderful discovery. Talk about falling in love all over again.
My feelings about Christmas trees were set in stone upon hearing Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story about the little fir tree in the forest who asked about trees he saw being cut down and carried away, once a year. When told they were taken to homes, put up in the middle of the parlor and adorned with bangles, baubles, beads, and balls, he became very exited and very jealous. He could hardly wait until the day he became tall and beautiful enough to be chopped down and carted off. He was ecstatically happy after being trimmed, and much loved and sung to.
Of course, three weeks later, he was stripped of his finery, carted back into the woods and dumped to die. I remember crying for days after hearing this sad story and never really got over it.
Years had to go by before artificial trees were perfected and made readily available. The day I bought one and brought it home, I wondered what the family reaction would be. We had all expressed horror at the aluminum trees we had seen for sale, so I didn’t know how they would feel about the beauty I had found.
The kids expressed their disappointment but their father didn’t say a word, which I interpreted as disapproval until after dinner when he confessed his happiness at being able to spare a living breathing tree. He even happily helped decorate the tree, for the first time ever, starting a custom he enjoyed for the rest of his life stringing popcorn and cranberries.
Part of my reaction to the real trees was fear or fire. I made sure the trees had gallons of water to drink, and was very careful to check the dryness of the needles before ever taking them into the house. Vacuuming up the hundreds of needles left everywhere after the tree was discarded was not my favorite holiday activity, either.
When the four kids became independent and able to set their own traditions they all had natural trees. Isn’t it funny how cyclical such matters are? We can hardly wait to do the opposite of our parents’ little ways, only to have our own offspring do the same to us.
One of the best things about artificial trees is the fact that they can be put up the day after Thanksgiving and not be taken down until Easter, and be safe and beautiful the whole time. My daughter-in-law has one she leaves up all year, removing Christmas decorations and hanging something appropriate for other occasions, like Cupids and hearts for Valentine’s Day and Easter eggs and bunnies at Easter. She also strings lots of lights both inside and outside her house. Inside, she uses fairy lights, outside the traditional colored lights. It not only makes her happy, it delights her family and friends as well.
There always seems to be some flap over Christmas. This is not unusual. I did a lot of research on Christmas customs over the years, starting with the original Roman celebrations. There were many objections even then, to shopping it up and hanging garlands and mistletoe just to hail the change of seasons. Much later, when the Christians took over, there still were factions who found something at which to take offense.
When I was a kid there was a fuss about using the word Xmas, even though it’s from the Greek and X stood for Christ. Since the Bible was originally written by the Greeks, I never could understand the fuss.
Now, there’s a fight about saying Happy Holidays. I’ve done this for years, probably because I had many acquaintances of different cultures and religions who seemed to have some sort of special time around December, or who, liked to enjoy sharing others’ special times. So, if you wish someone Happy Holidays you’re saying take your pick yours, mine, and each others. Let there be peace and love.