I do love me some Christmas. And I do take a good deal of things about Christmas seriously. The music. The movies. The traditions.
See, I think we’ve achieved Christmas Tree Nirvana. And I’m fully willing to admit that perhaps I have strange ideas about such things *cough*, but I’m also practical. And years of experience have taught me what sort of tree I want to have. I didn’t just come up with these Rules overnight.
Kile and I just had a talk about this. Because while I do have my Rules, I am aware that maybe he would like to deviate from those rules. Maybe he might feel an urge, now and then, to get a real tree. Horrifying, yes. But he has assured me that as much fun as it is to hunt down and have a real tree, he prefers our tree so much more.
Here are my Rules. Nothing grinchy about having rules about Christmas trees, is there?
1) No Needles on My Floor. I cannot cannot cannot CANNOT abide Christmas tree needles. They get EVERY. WHERE. And you find them MONTHS later. They are insideous. And with little kids, I just couldn’t feature letting a baby learn how to crawl, grabbing fistsfulls of tree needles off the carpet, even though I JUST vacuumed up about 10lbs worth 2 hours ago. Needles stress me out. I don’t need any extra stress.
2) No Putting Lights on The Tree. I hate putting lights on the tree. Correction: I hate when Kile puts lights on the tree. Because Kile hates putting lights on the tree. He gets crabby. Which makes me crabby. And 10 hours later when the lights are finally ON the tree, NO ONE is in the mood to decorate and have any sort of fun with the stupid thing. Putting lights on a Christmas tree is torturous. Our tree has 1100 lights on it. I KID YOU NOT. When you first turn it on, it’s DAZZLING, almost blinding. I love that.
3) No Narrow Windows of Enjoyment. When you get a real tree, unless you want to be swimming in brown needles, you’re best to be getting the tree about the second week of December or so. Which, depending if you’re going out of town for the holiday, doesn’t leave a lot of time to enjoy the hardwork and the simple majesty of the tree. I like plenty of time to enjoy my tree. I also like not HAVING to take it down but rather CHOOSING to take it down. And no, it doesn’t stay up too far past New Years, I assure you! But yes, we put up our tree early. Because that’s how we roll. Our tradition has us often putting it up right around Veteran’s Day. It works for us because it’s right after that that things get busy. Family visiting, going to visit family, blah blah blah. It’s a nice way to start up the season. I love having that whole extra month to admire my gorgeous tree.
4) No Expensive Trees. See, a lot of people look at artificial trees and think: “Wow, that’s so expensive!” But the easy solution here is to go get one after Christmas. They go on a massive sale and you can score a really awesome deal on a great artificial tree and then for the next 10 or so years, you don’t have to spend another dime on a tree. Or you can do like us and get lucky. We walked into Sam’s Club one year after Halloween and found this tree of ours for sale for $120. Considering how tall it is, how many lights, how full and good looking it is? And the fact that it has that “fold up branches” thing where you don’t have to individually put on each branch? Made it a SUPER bargain and we haven’t regretted a single day for buying it right there on the spot. Shoot, look at real trees! Of course, the only comparison I have to base it off of so far this year is the ones they were selling at Whole Foods which HAS to be a little on the steep end. But still, those were $50 trees and they were about 6′ tall at best and these were the sorts that would drop needles. I could just TELL. When you think about shelling out $50 each year, it adds up! Factor in the cost of lights to string on it, tree stand and all that… well it’s not terribly cost efficient to go real either. Unless you’re okay with the tiny $20 Charlie Brown Christmas trees. Which I am not. Which leads me to:
5) No Tiny Charlie Brown Christmas Trees. Maybe this makes me a tree snob. Charlie Brown felt sorry for that tree and put love into it and made it lovely. I get it. But 4′ trees just don’t do it for me. Or 5′. 6′ might be pushing it. I like a TALL tree. Scraping the ceiling. As Kile said, he likes to have to look up to see the star. We like our tree to be the focal point of the living room, not just some extra accessory that you trip over on the way to the television. (Of course, this comes from the people who’s TV takes up a good portion of their eastern wall… *cough*) The point is: we like our tree to be the sort you can’t just overlook. You gotta see it. Because there is a lot of it. And you can’t see THROUGH it either. That’s a big thing with me too. I can’t abide seeing the “trunk” on an artificial tree. I like thick, lush branches. Which also brings me to:
6) No Lame Looking Branches. Our tree right now is just perfect in pretty much all regards but especially this one. It has a “mixture” of needle styles and each branch has about a bazillion and one little branches and when we get it out of the box, the thing that seriously takes the longest to do is fluff the branches up because there are so many. And I’m okay with that. The branches look natural, is the important thing. This can be a tall order with artificial trees. We just got darned lucky when we got ours, I guess.
The only thing that artificial trees DON’T have is the scent. We solved that this year by getting a Wallflower thingie from Bath and Body Works in their “Fresh Balsam” scent. It’s plugged in right next to the tree and I swear, it smells JUST like a real tree. When we come downstairs in the morning, that smell wafts up to us and it’s just perfect. But I thought of a great solution: they need to make an artificial tree that has a scent thingie like that BUILT IN. It makes so much sense! And each time you plug the tree in to turn on the lights, it starts the scent thingie going. Voila!
Rules aside, one of the best things about Christmas is the tree. The trick obviously is, finding out what works best for you and your family. We’ve found our Tree Nirvana. Have you?