Google+ House Revivals: Why I Bought an Artificial Christmas Tree

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Why I Bought an Artificial Christmas Tree

Last weekend I took advantage of the 50% off sale at Hobby Lobby and bought an artificial Christmas tree.  I think I'm going to love it!

This tree is for the beach house, and I chose one that is pre-lit, with pine cones and berries and a tiny dusting of snow. Before you think, "that's not very beachy", I should mention that this is the Pacific Northwest, where pine cones and beach and sea and salt spray and snow live together in the most unsettlingly lovely way.

Growing up, we always used an artificial tree -- until we lost most of our possessions in a house fire. The next year, we had a real tree, covered in homemade decorations that our mom made with us kids (all our family ornaments had been lost in the fire). It was lovely to my child's eye. The next year, my father was in a terrible accident and was unable to work for many months. We lived in the Phoenix area, so you couldn't just go out and cut down a tree. We had little extra money for a tree that year, so my creative mother gathered up some tumbleweeds and we formed those into a Christmas tree! True story. I adored that tree! We put the homemade ornaments on our tumbleweed tree and and strung lots of popcorn garland and had a happy Christmas.

The next year my mom found an artificial tree at the Salvation Army store, and that is what we used for the rest of my years at home. When I got married and started my own little family, I vowed to always buy a real tree -- until we realized that our oldest son had severe allergies and could not be in the same house with a real tree. Sad, but true. Apparently all sorts of allergens can hitchhike into your home via a real tree. That year, I went to Ace Hardware for their 50% off Christmas trees sale, and that was the Christmas tree our kiddos grew up with.... until our dog got old.

For some reason, when our dog started getting old (he lived to be seventeen), he decided it was okay to pee on our tree. Seriously. The artificial tree had to be thrown away. By this time, allergy boy had grown up and moved out, so we went back to using a real tree for a while.

The problem with that has been that we live in two places these days. During the week, we are in a city crash pad, for work. On weekends, we go home to our beach house. We can't put up a real tree at our house until the last possible moment, since we aren't around to keep it watered. This has been super stressful for me, as it meant I would be madly trimming the tree a day or two before Christmas, all while prepping the house for guests, wrapping gifts, and cooking. Something had to give. I wanted to get an artificial tree, but my husband resisted. My husband loves tradition, and we have a new after Christmas tradition of having a Christmas tree bonfire on the beach. Okay, it's not that he loves tradition -- he just loves having a really big beach fire. Christmas tree fires burn high and hot and it is frighteningly beautiful.

Burning Christmas tree 2 at Golden Gardens beach, Seattle

He finally capitulated when we made plans for our daughter and little granddaughter to come out for a visit in early December.

(Summer Rose's parents won't let anyone share photos of her on social media, so I drew her for you!)

We've told little Summer we would have a Christmas party for her, and for a Christmas party you must have a Christmas tree, right?  If we put up a real tree in our beach house in early December, we would need to replace it before Christmas because it would dry out too much to be safe, since we're not there to water it during the week.

I was really impressed with the artificial trees available this year! I think Summer Rose will like our tree, with it's red berries and pine cones. I have some bird's nest ornaments that I will be sure to place at her eye level!  It's funny how having a grandchild changes your entire perspective. You start to see things "close up" again, and remember that the world is full of wonder and sweetness.

tree images via Hobby Lobby website

My husband has said he still reserves the right to buy a real tree, in addition to the "fake" one, and that's okay. Beach bonfires are lots of fun, after all.