December 02, 2007

I Think That I Shall Never See... blah blah blah... Christmas Tree

We’re a fake tree family. It’s just so… convenient. No wrapping a tree to the top of the car, making a special trip to a tree place spending hours looking at trees, no needles all over the floor, no shaping the trunk to fit in the base, no cussing, no watering.

Lots of positive nos.

But there is also no smell, no making the trip to a tree place spending hours looking at trees, no shaping a trunk to fit the base, no cussing… no real tree experience.

And I think that kids should be able to experience that. My kids LOVE helping me put the fake tree together, but I realized this year, Bones doesn’t remember when we used to get a real tree. He only knows our fake tree with color coated branches.

That bugs me.

We were in Publix last week, just Bones and me, when he saw a white bag for tree disposal in the check out line.

“Mom,” he said, “What is this bag for?”

Me: You put it under the tree as you get your tree up, so when you’re finished, you can just pull it over the tree and take it to the curb.

Bones: You throw a tree away.

Me and the bagman: *blink*

The man bagging my groceries looked at me like this was nutty. He said to my youngest, “You don’t get needles all over the house when you go to drag your Christmas tree to the curb.”

Bones: Christmas trees go to the curb?

Me: Yes, baby, they are dead. By the end of Christmas, they are dried out and losing their needles. You take it to the curb so the garbage man can haul it away.

Bones: You mean… wait. Can’t you just plant it in your backyard?

Me: Dude, it’s dead. Someone cut it off at the bottom of the trunk.

Bones: But if you plant it, won’t it just grow roots like plants?

Me: Nope, it’s a tree, not a bushing plant. It’s dead.

Bones, incredulously: People kill trees at Christmas?!

And that is when I realized, we needed a real tree for this Christmas. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to have a child that believes in Santa. Right now, the older two love the magic of Christmas, but there is just something special about having a child in the house that still Believes in The Man.

And this could be the one I need to make extra special. And so I am.

Besides, we have a lot of Christmas company this year, which makes me happy and somewhat giddy, so I want to make it all festive. Lights on the house, wonderful decorations within, the smell of cookies, the sounds of Christmas music, the smell of a real tree.

We’ll be shopping for a Christmas tree next weekend. South Florida is a tough gig on plants, everything dries out, and so I am afraid to buy one too early. Besides, I’m still damaged from when I was in high school and we went to my grandparent’s home for Christmas in Birmingham.

My granddaddy used to get so excited when we’d come visit, all his children and grandchildren under one roof, he’d start buying groceries a month in advance.

Unfortunately, that went for the Christmas tree as well. I think he bought it Thanksgiving Day with great anticipation, but unfortunately, he didn’t water it. By the time we arrived, the tree was so dry it was a frickin’ fire hazard. He still had those big bulbs that got hot, which made it worse. We would walk by the tree and the ever so slightest change in the air around the tree from someone walking by would send needles to the ground. You could hear it all day long… as it the tree shed its dry needles.

Shedding is such an understatement. It was as of the tree was THROWING them on the ground, in piles!

Christmas morning came, needles all over the gifts, and as tradition called for, the lights were supposed to be turned on for the gift exchange and opening. All the adults were nervous. An adult rounded everyone up, and then another adult quickly turned on the Christmas lights, we all said, “Oooooo!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!!” and then ‘blink’ the lights were unplugged.

The next day when the tree was hauled away, I think there was not one needle on the tree… there was a river of needles along the path through the house, to the road.

I have no desire to replay that scenario, as funny as it was, and as much as we all laugh about it now. We’ll be purchasing our real tree next week and I’ll be watchful about water… and Bones will be able to see what its like to have a real tree.

Every kid should remember a real tree. At least once… everyone has to have tree stories.

Posted by Boudicca at December 2, 2007 09:56 PM | TrackBack

I wonder if Bones might be happier with a fake tree, along with the explanation that "getting a fake tree means we didn't have to kill a Real Tree."

Of course, I say this after having helped our friends decorate their Real Tree...a tree so perfect, it looks fake. But it's real.

Once a year, they have a party at which all of their Jewish friends come over and decorate their tree. [Weird...but it works for us.] Then they go to our house and eat Chinese food and potato latkes for Chanukah.

Posted by: Elisson at December 2, 2007 11:22 PM

We finally caved and bought a fake tree last year. Up til then I'd bought real ones. Very pretty, smells very nice, but man the mess it makes. We don't have bags to put them in, and we also can't put them on the curb for pick up. So after Christmas we'd cart it out of the house, find a dry spot somewhere, wait for it to dry out, then chop it up for firewood. :)

Posted by: Amanda at December 3, 2007 02:58 AM

I use to have 2 neighbors that put up real trees. I always got their trimmings so I could have the 'real tree' smell in the house. I would make a sick looking wreath from it. I think they got such a kick out of my wreath they loved giving me their trimmings. Neither got a real tree this year. Sigh.

Posted by: vw bug at December 3, 2007 06:23 AM

Advantage of living in the cold north, we get our pumpkins Oct 1st and throw them out a couple weeks after Halloween and we get our real christmas trees on thanksgiving and throw them out a couple weeks past new years.

They make spray that you can spray on your fake tree to make it smell real.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at December 3, 2007 09:04 AM

"Christmas" trees, whether they be fir, pine, cedar or whatever, are a cash crop. Not buying a real one so you won't have to kill a tree is akin to saying you won't eat corn so you won't kill a stalk. The same is true for pulpwood. There are thousands of acres of trees grown in the Panhandle of Florida that are regularly harvested for paper, just as our many acres of Christmas trees are harvested for holiday celebration. They smell better, they recycle easily, and Bones will love it.

Posted by: Angus of Kirkcaldy at December 3, 2007 09:11 AM

Get a real tree that can be planted. Every few years growing up we'd get a real tree. One with a root bulb and in a special container. They are smaller, but it was a special tree. After Christmas, we'd plant the tree. Of course, they never made it through the next year, but it was fun!

Posted by: oddybobo at December 3, 2007 09:18 AM

We always get real trees; I think they're worth it and... what Angus said. ;)

Posted by: pam at December 3, 2007 09:29 AM

I've always had better luck buying the tree as soon as possible. If the tree has been sitting on the lot for a month they start dropping needles as soon as you get them home. If you buy early and keep the water level up, they fare much better. I don't know what trees are available in S. Florida but most live firs w/root ball won't hang in your climate. I could barely keep one alive in Atlanta.

Posted by: Uncalarry at December 3, 2007 09:58 AM

Alas! I'm not even gonna put the fake tree up this year. With a new cat who is still very kittenish, I fear the ornaments will be all over the house, especially while I'm at Lake Carolina spending Christmas with my sister. I do have some Christmas doodads I can put on my bookshelves.

Posted by: Denny at December 3, 2007 01:24 PM

Elisson- Time will tell... we'll see what he thinks!

Amanda- Oh we have no fireplace. Good Lord. It was 85 here today. Gah!

QW- Definite advantage of living north... pumpkins and Christmas trees.

Dad- I explained to him about tree farms. He's cool.

Oddy- We may have to do that one day! Of course it may take down here. Everything grows down here once its planted!

Pam- We may end up converting him. It may be a case wehre the boys always beg for a real tree. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

Uncalarry- That thought crossed my mind. We may end up going out later in the week. Is started wondering if they'd die on me before I got them home... I'm not sure what trees are available. My husband is kind of the tree expert. He worked in a Christmas Tree place when he was a teenager in Jersey.

Denny- Oh yeah, You'll freak the kitten! Wait until next year. She'll go NUTS on your tree if you put it up this year!

Posted by: Bou at December 3, 2007 06:19 PM

Sounds like you're really going all-out this year. And a live tree is a good idea.

Too bad the National Enquirer left town. They used to have a 100-foot "real" tree and beautifully decorated grounds at their office in Lantana every year. Your kids would have loved it.

Posted by: George at December 4, 2007 01:52 PM

I used to have a green ceramic tree that plugged in. It was about 10 inches tall. Lost it when my basement flooded. Now I just have one red stocking for my Christmas decorations. And three plastic candles that sit in my window. Isn't that just sad?

Posted by: Jerry at December 4, 2007 09:16 PM

I'm late to the party here...but we MUST have a real tree and we MUST cut it down ourselves. This is the law of the household as decreed by the husband. This usually means a long, cold hike in the mountains and a very Charlie Brown Chistmas tree covered in about 10 boxes of tinsel to make it look somewhat perfect.

Posted by: Graci at December 7, 2007 04:24 PM