Monday, December 7, 2009

Weigh In on My Dilemma

We're already into the second week of December. We just got back from vacation. My Thanksgiving decoration (yes, that's all there was) is still up. I am almost, but not quite, done with the mountain of laundry that emerged from our suitcases. There are piles of new goodies we brought back from the trip waiting to be absorbed into the household.

And we need a Christmas tree. Enter dilemma.

We have an artificial tree that we've been using for the past few years. (That's a picture of it last year.) I'd never had an artificial tree before. Gerry, on the other hand, well, let's just say handling pine/fir trees gives him welts, and he always seems a little terrified that the whole thing is going to go up in flames. I can sort of understand that as (a) we are terrible about keeping trees watered and (b) he grew up in Southern California where Christmas trees seem to be dried out before you even get them home.

So we have this fake tree. It was just a cheap tree, bought in an after-Christmas clearance sale. I have to admit, you can really pile stuff on there, because every branch is strong and there are lots of spaces to fill up. And, okay, I admit it's nice not to worry about watering the thing. And we already have it, so it's FREE. Always good, right?

So what's the problem? The problem is that it takes a lot of ornaments to make that pitiful green plastic thing look good. You can't just hang a few, simple, well-placed ornaments and expect it to look good.

And that takes time. It's fun, though, decorating the tree. What's not so fun? UN-decorating it after Christmas.

So here I am, pining for something simpler this year: a real tree that's beautiful even before the first ornament is hung. But a real tree is going to cost what? I don't even know anymore. Twenty five dollars? And then it gets thrown away. And Gerry will get welts. All good reasons to use the tree we have.

I just don't know what to do. I just about convince myself to just spend the money and get a real tree, then I'm afraid I'll miss seeing all my favorite ornaments. But packing them up in January...ugh, I just don't know.



Moira said...

I say get a real tree. They are pretty inexpensive... I got a huge one for $30. If Gerry gets welts, ask someone else for help gettting home and into the house. Nothing beats the smell of a real tree!!!! If you really feel like you don't want one next year, at least you can say you tried!!!

Cricket said...

I'd use the fake one and fill it up. And maybe you can get a small, 18" or 24" potted real tree to simply decorate in another part of the house, or another part of the room? Then you have all your ornaments and a real tree that you can plant outside later!

Christy (Columbia Lily) said...

being from the NW, I have never, nor will I ever, use a fake tree. That being said, I can understand your dilemna. I do agree with Moira, get a real tree at least once.

Care said...

Use the fake one! Make this the last time. We've got a cruddy one, not pre-lit, that is getting "the boot" after this year. Then, at the after-Christmas sales, we will get one that looks better, and is PRE-LIT. Oh, joy!

Just knowing that this will be your last year of the crummy tree will help you through all that annoying un-decorating!

Mz. Whitney said...

When I was a little kid, I hated being dragged out into the woods to tramp through the snow and cut down a tree as a "family togetherness activity". (I know, what a humbug!)

After a few years (maybe because of all my whining?) my family got a potted Norfolk Pine which we would decorate for Christmas. It was perfect! Not your conventional Christmas Tree shape, but absolutely charming.

Melanie said...

How bad are the welts? My sister was desperately allergic. Welts, swelling, passing out. Make sure he can survive a real tree for the whole season. That being said, I'd use the fake one and opt for simpler decorations -- more handmade, i.e., paper chains, popcorn and cranberries strung together for example. Relax and enjoy -- easy to say, hard to do! : )

Diana said...

Mmm...I always get a real tree, but I don't get welts. Christmas trees around here cost $10/foot, but it sounds like they're half that around your neck of the woods! Go for the live one, but keep it small this year. How's that?

Anonymous said...

Oh lordy! Real trees with any degree of beauty are EXPENSIVE down here. A nice, full 7-8 footer is $120+.

We are all terribly allergic, so my vote would be for the fake tree. It is no fun being sick every Christmas with itchy eyes, scratchy throat and runny noses, not to mention the welts every time anyone brushes against the tree. I love my artificial tree. We took advantage of an after Christmas sale several years ago for a 10' tree. Yes, it takes a bajillion ornaments to cover, but it's so extravagantly lovely!

joyous melancholy said...

Why not use a filler to take up space on the artificial tree, so there aren't as many decorations to clean up? My parents use a fake tree, but my mom uses wide ribbon to make large bows with streamers, and some grapevine garland. Full look, less cleanup after the holidays.

Sherry said...

I've missed your post while you were gone! Your blog is my favorite. I have a white artificial tree and love it! We bought it last year and I love the way it looks when covered with my pink, aqua, and gold decorations (and no needles stuck in the carpet after Christmas!).

Jennifer said...

Yep, Christmas is no fun if you're suffering through allergies. You could string popcorn, make paper chains, paper snowflakes to help fill-up the fake tree. The ribbons are also a nice idea.

I also yearn for a prelit tree. Our fake one looks pretty Charlie Brownish, but I tell my self that's part of it's charm. We travel so much during the holiday that a fake tree makes the most sense.

Anonymous said...

Please allow me to weigh in on "our" dilemna! As for the welts, they are just that, welts other allergic reaction symptoms. (Let it be noted that Moira is my wonder she wasn't concerned about my well being! kidding, Moi, kidding!). As for the "dry tree", my biggest fear is our 1868 wood frame and stucco house going up in may be unfounded, but it's a legitimate concern in my mind. Our "fake" tree is pre-lit, so it always has the lights just right...and it looks awesome when Susan is done decorating it. the first couple of years we lived here we actually had to buy 2 trees so that she could get all her favorite ornaments out...this tree takes care of that for us!
So, whatever Susan wants to do, I'm in...but please, all of you should take a page from Moira and not worry about my welts...they go away pretty quickly...


KLS said...

Hi Susan,

After reading all of your comments
here and on the board, I'm thinking what you need this Christmas is a real tree with simple decorations.
And I think that is all you are going to be happy with (based on knowing how I am...).

So, I say go buy a real tree, get a freshly cut one because they are way less dryed out than the ones rolling around in Walmart parking lots since Thanksgiving.
Less fire danger that way.

Make it a point to keep it watered, don't over-heat your home and make sure the batteries in your smoke detectors are good if you are really paranoid.

Have Gerry were leather work gloves and a sturdy, long-sleeved shirt to keep the tree away from his skin.

I thik a fresh tree with simple snowflakes would be gorgeous and a lovely change of pace from last year.

Also, Isabella will probably like a real tree better and isn't her happiness Priority One in your house??

--ginger. said...

I am a recent lover of the fake tree. And this year I'm going to make a long, mini-scalloped garland for it. I might even do it as little triangle flags and hope it doesn't look like a long flag-like used car lot sort of thing. But that's my vision. My son has asthma and at some point I decided not to mess with triggering his allergies with the real tree. I have sympathy for Gerry's welts. Embrace the fake!

shojin said...

Heck, I have a tiny tree (fake) and even then I put it away each year fully decorated! Then when it comes out the next season just straighten the branches, etc. My mother does the same thing.

julie k said...

Does your city recycle trees? Lincoln turns them into mulch and offers it free to residents. That gets rid of the "throwing out" dilemma.

Are there types trees that might affect Gerry's allergies differently? I'm allergic (not welts, though), but do well with Fraser trees and the occasional Zyrtec.

Nothing beats that fresh tree smell!