Real or Fake (and I’m not talking about boobs, here)!

I love the smell of pine trees. I love the adventure of going to a tree farm (or in the woods) to find the “perfect” Christmas tree. I love the act of choosing and cutting it down and wrangling it into your car/onto your car roof. I love the entire ritual.

My kids hate it. You can tell they are children of a lawyer because they all ganged up on me one year and each had different arguments why we should get a fake tree. No needles to clean up, no one has to water it, it won’t be messy, it’s faster to put up the fake tree, you can adjust the branches of the fake tree to hang whatever ornaments you want on it without touching the other branches, it looks better (more uniform and even), it’s less expensive, and on and on.

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The Fake Tree in Mid-Decoration

One year, after Christmas, I finally succumbed to their pleas and I bought a fake tree. We used that for a few years and when I moved to a house of my own, I went back to getting a real Christmas tree. I think real trees are perfect in their imperfection. Something is always amiss with a real tree – a large hole just where you want to hang an ornament or it lists to one side, so badly that you have to resort to many, many adjustments to get it to look straight. I used cinder blocks this past Christmas to elevate my short tree (the tree farm had small trees that year and we decided that we should have just gone to Home Depot and gotten an 8 footer. Oh well, there is always next year.)

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Santa’s Tree Farm in Half Moon Bay


I love the adventure of going to the tree farm, traipsing through the field, looking at every Noble Fir. I like the kind of tree where you can see between the branches and the ornaments can hang freely without touching anything else, not a branch or other ornament! Santa’s Tree Farm in Half Moon Bay is usually where we go to find a tree. They have a little train that roams the farm, a barn with pre-cut trees (so that’s where my perfect tree ended up…), warm cider and hot chocolate, and wreaths and other decorations for sale. It’s a nice, homey atmosphere. In our hunt for a tree, I usually have to check out each part of the farm with Noble Firs before choosing a tree.

2002 Tree with Jasper
Christmas 2002 with Jasper

This picture from 2002 is one of my favorites. Not just because of Jasper’s awesome smile and the way he is clutching his blanket, but because this is the perfect tree. This tree had tons of spaces throughout to hang a LOT of ornaments and it was tall enough. This particular tree shows a lot of free space at the bottom because of toddlers (at that time, Jasper was 4, Bryce was 3, and McKinley was 1) and we had a  fun-loving, tree hugging cat. Sonic (the cat) loved to play, chew on the light strings, and climb into the tree. What fun!

2011 Fake Christmas Tree
2011 The Fully Decorated Fake Tree

This picture is of the fake tree. Yes, it was truly quick and easy to put up and take down (and to store in the attic). Yes, it was clean and didn’t drop needles. But it wasn’t scented (although the kids did volunteer to spray some pine scent around the living room, which just seemed plain wrong, if you ask me!) It was very uniform, but in my opinion didn’t have enough space between the branches for the ornaments to hang freely. I do love the ribbons that hang down from the top, which was full and lush, just like the rest of the tree.

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The Beautiful Ribbons
2011 Work Lobby Tree
2011 The Two-story Tree in our Lobby at Work

What I really want is a two-story living room so that I can put a huge tree in it that spans both stories. Then maybe I would have enough tree space to hang my entire collection of Christmas ornaments from around the world – it contains ornaments depicting music, bears, cows, National Parks and other places we have visited, our Danish heritage, and there are also a ton of vintage ornaments in this collection!

Maybe I would be willing to consider a fake tree if I could find one that was 1) prelit with white lights and colored lights that wouldn’t quit three years into the fake-tree’s life (let’s not even start with the white v. colored light debate), 2) was like the Noble Fir and had tons of space between branches, and 3) could be stored somewhere in my house the rest of the year (I’m thinking a two story tree would be hard to find in the first place and definitely hard to store the rest of the year). But until then, during the weekend after Thanksgiving, I’m going to lasso my kids and take them to the tree farm in search of the perfect tree!

What kind of tree do you prefer to have and WHY?

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