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Small Talk: Keeping it real with fake trees

I won’t deny I am enjoying the scent of a real fir tree in my home this year. A live tree has not darkened my door for some time.

If putting up the tree is left to me, as it has been for decades, I am quite content with my fake tree with the attached lights. However, since my daughter and her hubby are part of our household now, I saw a perfect opportunity and I jumped at it.

“I will foot the bill for a live Christmas tree, if you want to find it, buy it, schlep it home, put the lights on, decorate it and then be prepared to undecorate it, take the lights off and put it out for recycling, then vacuum up the dead pine needles,” I said, with a sweet smile. They bought the tree today and it is up, looking and smelling delightful, complete with lights and ornaments, in our front window. They loved doing it and I loved not doing it.

OK, I did help. I’m not all about convenience. I moved the furniture around to make room in the front window and found a sturdy box to set the tree up on to show off its best angle. And most importantly, I enthusiastically oohed and aahed and applauded and told them how wonderful it looks.

In my world, loudly appreciating extra effort is a must. That’s just one more reason I don’t wrestle with a live tree anymore. I did it all for the first 12 years of my children’s lives, which I believe keeps my title of Perfect Mother intact. But once they hit the age of nonchalance, and managed to always be absent when the tree needed to go up and come down, I lost my need to smell fresh pine.

I did plan to hang the outdoor lights, as I always do, but they had disappeared. New lights have been purchased and will soon be hung by the roofline with care. Hopefully, I will manage to get the rest of my decorations up before mid-month. I still do plenty of buying, wrapping, cookie baking, latke frying and other festive things, and that leaves my conscience clear in the live vs. faux tree debate. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer occasionally heard mumbling “Bah! Humbug!” Contact her at

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