Years ago, when the world was younger and more innocent, my husband and I spent an average of eight hours, eleven minutes, and twenty-two seconds each year trekking through miles of frigid wilderness (okay a tree farm, but it was damn cold), hauling our children with us, in a quest to find the perfect tree. Many arguments ensued over what constituted the perfect tree, but I digress.
My husband would chop down the lucky candidate, while I forcibly restrained our offspring from springing into action (hyperactive kids, sharp tools, you know the drill).
After forking over a small fortune for the privilege of doing all the work ourselves, we loaded the behemoth onto the car roof, anchoring it with bungee cords, yellow plastic ropes, and a fervent prayer. With one hand out the window on each side, each gripping a branch for additional support, we drove home at a snail’s pace, causing more than one episode of road rage.
A day later, once the thawing process had blanketed our garage with a nice, thick carpet of needles, my husband hacked off the bottom of the trunk to promote better water absorption, while I forcibly restrained our offspring (again, hyperactive kids, sharp tools). We then rammed the remnants of the trunk into a tree stand, tightened the screws, and hauled the monster inside with much cursing amidst a merry spray of falling needles.
For the next four hours, my husband and I made the intricate adjustments needed to ensure the tree would remain upright. Every year, we used props, books, duct tape, sky hooks, etc. to hold that sucker in place.
It worked. Mostly. Except the one year it didn’t. I don’t want to talk about it.
And don’t get me started on the daily watering (ruining a perfectly good hardwood floor in the process), and the needle clogging incident requiring emergency vacuum cleaner treatment.
After many years of this insanity, the kids left home, we downsized, and grew smarter. We now own a lovely, collapsible FAKE tree and a can of pine-scented room spray, which smells as beautiful as the real deal, if not better.
So here’s my question to you: Do you prefer real or artificial, and why?