Anyone who puts up a Christmas tree has thought about this issue and generally has a preference: cut, pre-cut or artificial?
We have two trees – one artificial and the other cut from a tree farm, which requires the storybook idea of us all lovingly selecting our tree from the farm, taking turns sawing it down, then tying to the roof while we enjoy celebratory candy canes. It doesn’t go quite as smoothly, though. The good trees are usually picked over by years past, not everyone wants to saw, hoisting and securing a tree to an SUV roof usually is pokey, sticky, and exhausting, it’s expensive, the kids mostly run around like lunatics with saws, and it all ends with weeks of pine needles ending up everywhere. But, it’s tradition.
No surprise, the live tree definitely looks more real than our artificial tree. It smells nice, too, and this year, ours came with a free nest (it had been vacated, I checked before we cut down the tree). The nest ended up rolling around in the back of my car, leaving small sticks everywhere.
The artificial tree is ready when we are, for as long as we are. I can bend the branches to fit my ornaments. It’s a high quality artificial, but it still looks fake. It doesn’t smell, but that it easily remedied by smell sticks, making the artificial tree smell much stronger than our real one.
Then there are the pre-cut trees probably bought by most people. Still feeling the burden of cutting down a tree, I rolled into the Whole Foods parking lot as they were unloading their trees from Oregon. Yes, they were slightly shorter than the 11 foot whatever Douglas Fir we chopped down, but they were sculpted beautifully into the perfect Christmas tree triangle, they were cut and ready to be loaded into or onto a car, and they cost about the same. Shop local, support family farms and all that, but man, these trees look so much easier.
Every year we talk about buying a second artificial tree and dropping our tradition of the tree farm. While I know we will eventually make that change, the kids want to continue with the fresh cut route for a few more years. Maybe as a transition, we can buy from a local lot, rather than the farm.