Love it or Hate it: Real Christmas Trees

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

Love ItI know the downsides of having a real Christmas tree. The scratchy needles that get everywhere, having to pour water in so it doesn’t dry out, the time it takes to put up and take down. But the smell of pine in your living room is well worth the effort. When I lived in New York City, the only time the streets smelled nice was after X-Mas, when everyone left their trees lying out on the sidewalk like rotting dead beasts in the snow.

I also know the benefits of fake trees. They’re so easy to assemble, come in any color you want, and never wilt. I’ve seen some lovely, sparkly fake trees in my day. But once you acquire a faux shrub, you’re liable to pull it out every year. It always looks the same. When you’re forced to go hunting for a real tree, it will be different each time; sometimes wimpy like a Charlie Brown selection, or tall and broad like the behemoth at Rockefeller Center, depending on what you find. Your decorations will never look quite the same. Variety is the spice of life.

There’s something strange and wonderful about human beings dragging a living, breathing thing inside their sterile suburban colonials or cramped city apartments, then trussing it with ornaments and lights and tinsel. And as an added bonus – if you’re a cat person – cats love real Christmas trees. I’ve had two who wanted to do nothing but lay underneath all day, like furry presents. What’s better than that?

Anya Jaremko-GreenwoldHate ItHere’s a gallon of bleach, Real Christmas Tree. Suck it. I’ll be over here basking in the glow of my artificial, pre-lit, $50, completely re-usable Christmas tree.

Real Christmas Tree, I see you won’t drink the bleach. Please excuse me while I grab my Santa-head watering can to pour poison in your food dish. Yes, this is harsh. Yes, I am a jerk. Yes, you supply thousands of American jobs, whereas my plastic Christmas tree is probably from China.

But here’s the thing, Real Christmas Tree, you are expensive and a yearly cost that I, most definitely, cannot afford. You are also full of pesticides. My mutt – which I don’t own yet, but I’ll more easily afford if I don’t lob cash on things I throw away (re: you) – is more likely to die from gnawing on you. What if I fall asleep and while I’m dreaming of Henry Rollins fighting Krampus over leaving me coal instead of the entire back catalog of PM Press, the dog keeps licking you? And instead of dying from this pesticide snack, my pup morphs into a mutant-Grinch-dog? Then, I end up having to battle my fluffy beast Cujo-style probably barreling into you, Tree, which then knocks over the maple custard-scented candle that my best friend gave me and WHOOSH. You are on fire, Tree. The dog is on fire. I, myself, am ablaze. The whole house dies in a Feliz Navidad inferno all because I got a real Christmas tree.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Patty Templeton

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