Battle of the Tree. Real vs. Fake

In the 7th Century, an adventurous monk travelled to Germany to teach folks about Christianity.  Using a triangular Fir Tree to explain the Holy Trinity, the monk’s lessons soon had the Fir Tree to be known as “God’s Tree”.  Folks would hang a Fir upside down in their house to celebrate the Trinity.  Fast forward to Latvia around 1510 and the first known tree to be decorated is born (w/out a Sears, chances are the first ornament was a dried piece of livestock manure or a potato or something).  1610 tinsel is invented and there would be no turning back, the Christmas tree was here to stay as a Christmas tradition (like Black Friday sales).

At one time or another, if you celebrate Christmas, I would venture a guess you decorated a tree. Either you cut it down yourself or you bought it from the local Fire Company.  It was surely a part of your tradition.  It was mine too, until 6 years ago.  That is when, like a pro athlete who discovers Jesus after an arrest, I discovered the fake tree.  Now, my synthetic tree (sounds better than fake I think), has become apart of my family’s tradition. And I’m here to tell you why it should be apart of yours too.

1.  Be a Carbon “Big”Foot:  Think of the trees folks.  How many are senselessly slaughtered so you can have a Christmas morning?  The US grows half a billion trees per year. Imagine if we could keep those trees in the ground? The air would smell a lot sweeter (or at least more like pine).

2.  Your Wallet Will Thank You:  One time, post-Christmas cost of about $50. Annual cost of $50. Could mean the difference between a used Playstation 2 from Craigslist for your kid or the X-Box Kinnect.  If you buy a real tree to donate to the Boy Scouts or some other organization…donate during the year you cheapskate.

3.  Good Dog:  If you have pets then you know their appetite for pine needles, tinsel, and the tree water can know no boundaries.  Unless you own a goat, a fake tree probably won’t get nibbled.

4.  Spring Cleaning:  Tired of stepping on pine needles in May? Me too.

5.  Immortality:  It’s a fake tree.  The needles never turn brown or fall off.  Two weeks in to the Advent and that real tree that used to be so full and green is looking worse than Emmitt Otter’s tree.

6.  Kids Don’t Care:  I have yet to meet a child who cared about anything other than what is under the tree.  Real or fake, just make sure there are 3 dozen wrapped presents with their names’ on them come December 25th.

7.  Plug It In:  Houdini couldn’t undo the knot your Christmas tree lights tangled in to over the summer.  Do yourself a favor, give that ball to the cat to paw with like a ball of yarn and just plug your tree in.

8.  Pest Control:  Avoid the call to your local pest control company at 3x the regular rate during the holidays when the Praying Mantis nest in your real tree hatches.

9.  No More Tinsel:  I don’t know about you but tinsel sucks.  It generates enough static electricity to power your alarm clock and your pets eat it (which means you literally have to pull it out of them later). You can’t hang tinsel on a fake tree and expect to take off every strand after Christmas or leave it on and expect it to look good next year. Say goodbye to tinsel.  Good riddance.

10.  Branch Strength:  Try hanging your kid’s 10lbs ornament from Kindergarten he made with Play-doh, popcorn and what must be lead on a real tree’s branch and watch that branch bend like Daniel Smith, world-famous contortionist.  Fake tree?  I could almost hang a bowling ball on mine. My fake tree’s branches laugh at your real tree’s wimpy branches.

11. Embrace Your Inner-Liberace:  It’s not really my taste but some people like eccentric things  like gold, or silver, or blue trees, or gold, silver and blue trees all in one. Now you can be festive and tacky.

12.  Odorless:   My wife has spent a lot of my money on Yankee candles to waft around our house. Besides, if I wanted to smell the forest all the time, I would have moved there. The overwhelming pine smell drowns out everything else in the house, including those Yankee candles.

13.  Looks Can Be Deceiving:  Is it real?  Is it fake?  Is that a woman’s leg in a fish net stocking?  I dare the common Christmas Caroler or nosy neighbor trolling the neighborhood to tell the difference between a real tree and a fake tree from the sidewalk (unless of course you have followed number 11.). You can’t.

14.  Looks the Same Every Year:  My mother wanted the same tree every year.  Same amount of branches. Same height.  Same everything.  A fake tree could have saved a lot of Christmas arguments about what previous years trees looked like compared to the one me and my dad settled on.  It could save you too.

15.  Only You Can Prevent Fires:  According to the US Fire Administration, an average of 250 trees deck their halls with billows of flames resulting in 14 million dollars in damages annually.  You know what happens to plastic and metal if a fire started? It melts.

16.  On Center:  I spent more time of my life trying to center Christmas trees perfectly in their stands using string, zip ties, screws, and duct tape than construction took on the Erie Canal…even with the drilled “true center” of a real tree.  My fake tree?  Always on center.

17.  Storage:  Some fake trees fold up like umbrellas.  Others fit right back in to the box they came in.  All will fit nicely in a garage, attic, closet, or as the fourth leg to your home office desk.

18.  Transportation:  Walk into your basement.  Or garage. Or up to your attic to get your tree.  Or you can travel all over town to find the right tree and then try to fit an 8’ tall Doug Fir in to your Civic and down the interstate.  Good luck.  I’ll be in the basement drinking beer and watching the football game while I tell my wife I’m “looking” for that tree.

19. No Trimming:  A real tree is not always shaped symmetrically.  Sometimes the tree looks a little too much like Don King’s hair in the morning which means you need to do some in-house trimming and pray you don’t shave off too much of one side or cut too much off the top and have no place for the star.  A fake tree means you don’t have to be Sally Hershberger with your branch clippers.

20. This Ain’t Nuclear Physics:  Look, putting the trees together doesn’t require an Advanced Physics degree.  The branches are color coded.  Plus their length will tell you how they go.  If you put the tree together and it looks like your something you would see looking into a kaleidoscope, not only did you do it wrong but you just might be an idiot.

21. Gesundheit!:  My wife was allergic to the real trees I would bring home every year which is what led me to get a fake tree in the first place.  Be Claritin clear this holiday season without the Claritin.

22. Time Is Not on My Side:  Who has time to rustle up the troops and head in to the forest to chop down a tree or drive all over town looking for one?  I get impatient waiting for a youTube video to load on a High Speed line let alone spending the time to play Paul Bunyan.

23. Save Your House:  Look up to your ceiling above where the tree usually goes.  Is there a mark there?  Do your walls look like the inside of the most artistic Neanderthal man’s cave?  A real tree can scrape and mark up all over the inside of your house. Hope you asked for a paintbrush and spackle from Santa.

24.  Trash Day:  Try to walk past your now completely dried out and half dead tree without having the needles fall off of it let alone trying to get that special trash bag that looks more like a CSI body bag on it too.  Then leave it on your sidewalk until Valentine’s day when your trash guys decide to take it praying the neighbor’s kid doesn’t accidentally set it on fire when he tosses his cigarette butt on it (pssst…Mine’s in the closet).

25.  Its Bendy:  Being able to bend the branches helps with accommodating different sized ornaments.  I could bend my tree so it looks like the Arc de Triomphe if I wanted to.  Bend yours and it either bends right back or cracks.

26. I Didn’t Water it, Did You?:  You filled up the tree tub.  You mixed in your little packet of mysterious powder the guy who sold you the tree said would keep it alive longer. That was Sunday.  You come home from work Monday and your tree is drier than kindling because it sucked all the water you initially put in.  Now it has spent 16 hours in a house that has the thermostat set to ‘Desert’.

27.  Be a Lover Not a Fighter:  I have been there before.  In the midst of trees and would be buyers. I would kidney punch a WWII veteran if I had to in order to get the right tree.  It gets tense out there on the parking lot of the bowling alley where the trees are.  Save the hand to hand combat for Black Friday sales and Christmas Eve shopping.

28.  Keeping Up with the Times:  Lets face it, pretty soon fake trees will be out and we’ll all be “putting” up the tree by hanging an LED screen on our wall and turning it on.  Don’t be surprised when you start getting charged for the Christmas Tree channel on cable bill.

29.  Biblically Speaking:  If you are a modern-day version of Jesus’ apostles, show me where Christmas was celebrated with a real tree?  In fact, forget about a tree real or fake and get yourself a Nativity scene and put your presents under that you heathen.

30.  Really:  Really…its just a tree.  We don’t celebrate the tree.  We celebrate the season.  However you celebrate it, the tree is just one part of it.  What is important is not whether or not you can replant your Christmas tree in the backyard after New Year’s.  What’s important is you don’t forget why you celebrate and who you celebrate with.


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