How lovely are thy plastic branches

This time of year, I realize that there are two kinds of people. People who are horrified by the idea of a fake Christmas tree, and people (like me) who think that real Christmas trees are just not worth the hassle.

Luckily, Mike and I share a love of fake Christmas trees. We put ours up on Saturday. Nothing about putting up a Christmas tree has really changed since I was a child. We make some hot chocolate (although now I drink it made with Splenda), put the Christmas music on (now it’s on an iPod instead of a record player), take the tree out of the box (yeah, that’s pretty much the same), and put the purple-tipped branches in the purple holes, the pink tipped branches in the pink holes . . . so on and so forth. I have had a real tree just one time in my whole life – the first year after we moved to Siler City, my family walked over to the land my grandparents owned that was next to the land we were living on and we chopped one down. It got dry and brittle before Christmas, and our cat kept knocking it down and drinking the water out of the tree stand. No, I prefer the simplicity of a fake tree.

My parents have not yet relinquished my childhood ornaments – the Miss Piggy ornament my Aunt Barbi gave me, the Rudolph with a “ruby” for its nose (since rubies are my birthstone), the second grade art projects . . . Mom still puts all of them on her tree. Maybe now that I have a house, she’ll let me have mine. Mike doesn’t have old Christmas ornaments, because his got lost in a move when he was in middle school. Currently our tree is decorated with a lot of snowman ornaments, because Mike has let it be known that snowmen are his favorite decoration, and my family has acknowledged that by giving us crazy amounts of snowmen.

While we do agree on the fake Christmas trees, we don’t agree on other decorations. I don’t mind colored lights on a tree, but Mike would have them all chasing each other or blinking frantically. He would also put lights on every square inch of our property if I would let him. He has to satiate his desire for tacky lights by looking at our neighbors’ houses. And we always do a night or two where we drive around and judge tacky Christmas lights. Can I just say: America, blue lights are only a good idea when mixed with red lights and green lights and white lights and purple lights. Blue lights by themselves? Just. Say. No.

I have had people look at me in disgust when I admit my preference for a fake tree. They act as if it’s a spiritual issue, or as if I am just a little slow in the head. I figure, we have enough stress just trying to get the lights on the tree and arguing about whether tinsel is tacky or not. I don’t need the hassle of trying to keep a tree alive on top of that.

Besides, when I sit on my couch with the Christmas tree on and on the other lights in the house turned off . . . well, are you going to tell me a real tree could look prettier than that?

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