Merry Christmas

I woke up this morning and thought, "what a great day to buy a Christmas tree!" It's overcast (not something we see too often here in Los Angeles), it was cold and well, it just felt like the day to go out and spend a lot of money for a tree that would basically look like crap on Christmas morning. A fire hazard really. In fact we usually end up taking the tree down the day after Christmas. Kinda sad. Kind of a pain in the ass.

We started out at our local neighborhood grocery store. Support the local businesses. But alas,  they truly had about 20 trees and none of them were what I was visualizing in my livingroom for the next three weeks. Much to the chagrin of my better half, we moved on.

We headed to the second lot. One we've had good luck at in the past. However, even though we are very early this year, the choices were few and far between. We left.

On we went to a third, then a fourth, then a 5th. My better half suggested we get a fake tree. I balked. Over my dead body, I thought. I'm from Oregon. We don't do fake trees.

We marched on. Six, seven, eight. It was beginning to look as if all the lots were filled with haphazardly homely trees that already looked liked they'd seen the season.

Our last stop again proved fruitless. If the trees on this lot didn't look like someone had chopped 'em into submission to look like a Christmas tree, they were far too big around the base to fit in our small corner of the living room. If we purchased a $100 tree and then had to 'trim it into place'...well that's money on the floor.

Not looking good.

I looked at my better half. I was beaten down. I didn't want to make finding a Christmas tree my new career and I could tell my partner was losing patience with my insistence that the tree resemble one out of a fairytale.

"We're goin' fake."

Our first stop was a big box store with an overinflated idea of what a artificial, OK - fake, tree should cost. These were priced like a mortgage payment. I wasn't convinced I was going to like this idea overall so I wasn't going to drop the price of a Prada bag on one of these suckers.

It was not looking good.

We ducked into a Target and it was suddenly starting to look alot like Christmas.

A sale. 50% off. I'm all about the sales this year. Although I don't seem to take into account that 50% of well, $400 is still well, $200. Not what I had intended on spending that for an accessory that would dominate my living room for only the next three weeks and then be gone until next year. It's a tree for god sake and it's well, dead, er fake. But it looked so damn real! And it was prelighted!

I pushed all the sugarplums dancing around in my head to the side and made room for a bit of reality. This lovely fake icon of Christmas will last me for at least the next five years, maybe more depending on how well it's stored. There are no pine needles to find in my carpet in July, no tree stand to trip over, no plastic water pan to fill that inevitably has a hole in it so water lays on the hardwood floors until the tree skirt soaks it up. (Now there's something to look for under the tree.) And then well, there's the fact that the tree always looks like crap by Christmas morning. Fire hazard. Take down and haul away and well, that tree in front of me was looking pretty real.

My heart started pounding while we looked for 'box 29' for spanking new 7' tall cashmere pine tree, pre-lit and fake! fake! fake! fake! 19, 22, 17, 12, 09, 17, 28, 30, 31. No 29. You're kidding me. I'm so close. I may lose this moment if there's no 29. Where's box 29?! 14, 24, 36, 26. One last isle. 07, 13, 29. 29! Two left. One's mine! It's mine! It's mine!

I guarded the box like it was gold while my better half fetched a cart. It would just be my luck that a horde of people looking for just that tree would be let off a bus setting off a bidding war for this perfect specimen of a fakeness. Some would say that's looking at the glass half full, I would say it's another example of why I should be taking a tranquilizer.

I'd finally turned the corner and joined all those I 'poo poo'd' as far back as I can remember and dammit, no one was going to take that moment away from me.

I was now the proud owner of a perfectly fake Christmas tree.

I grabbed new ornaments, a fake garland for the hearth - in for a penny, in for a pound - and drove home to put it all together. In less than 20 minutes I had a beautiful tree, lit up and ready to decorate. Now, to be honest, I know it's fake so of course to me it looks like I brought home one of those trees you see in the department stores this time of year. But after layering on my cherished ornaments some going back to the 20s and 30s, I was totally buying into the illusion.

So the sun has set, the lights are brighter on the tree and I'm sitting back with my hot toddy and a nosh thinking about the night before Christmas and how fabulous the tree will look as it floats upon a pile of gifts for my family and friends. The tree may be fake but there's nothing at all fake about the love and joy I intend to spread around this year.

Oh, the pine scent? Will I miss it? Of course not! I bought a pine scented candle.

It definitely looks a lot like Christmas!


  1. I'm from Oregon. I LIVE in Oregon. And we went fake two years ago.

    Haven't regretted it personally... for all the reasons you mentioned.

    No pine scent here, though.

  2. i am laughing out loud. I LOVE THIS POST!!!!! Makes me want to run out and buy a fake tree. So glad you didn't have to arm wrestle anyone for #29!

    More please! You're a fabulous writer.


  3. Goodmorning! I am stopping over from Joanna's page this morning. We still haven't gotten our tree. And we desperately need too. Maybe today! I was hoping to organize all of my sons toys first. You know, it gets SO crowded in the living room with the tree! We get real usually. Last year there were so many needles though. I still think we will get a real one though. Thanks for reminding me that we need to do something : )

  4. We have a four foot artificial tree and it works for us. A couple strings of lights and the only ornaments we have are all angels, all sorts, so it is our angel tree. Regardless of what type of tree, when it is decorated it brings joy and puts everyone in the holiday spirit doesn't it? Enjoy your tree.

  5. Loved your post, Jane! I was hanging on every word to see if you'd get a 29.

    I had a fake tree for years and it worked out just fine! Now I live in the middle of a forest and can cut any tree on our land that I wish. Problem is, I know it takes decades for a tree up here to gain any size, so I'll probably cut a whimpy Charlie Brown tree, cover it with lights & decos and think it is the most beautiful thing I've ever laid eyes on. :)

    Wishing you and yours a beautiful Holiday season,

  6. High five to you and your tree!! May the two of you be happy for many years to come! (Came here via The Fifty Factor.) HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

  7. Too funny... and here am I still debating whether or not to put up a tree at all.

  8. Great post! You are cracking me up! We have a fake tree and I like it for the mess and I'm a fire hazard freak.

  9. Hi Nod, Joanna sent me and I'm glad she did! Welcome aboard the good ship Bloglandia where we support you! All hail the queen of #29!

    We went fake a long time ago when space was the issue...that same year I realized pine needle covered floors were the issue and fire hazards and disposal and the list went on.

    You're one up on me...I would have suggested a pine scented car freshener or two..;)

  10. You've put your finger on the secret of Christmas - it's the people who spread the joy around, not the tree...

  11. Hi, I'm over from Joanna's gorgeous prompting. Welcome to the land of the fake christmas tree. My mum used to always buy the real mccoy tree until she met a man who easily twisted her arm to buy into the fake version. Great post and glad to hear you are happy with a fake tree, I am. Think I should get me some pine spray too, that is an excellent fake it idea.