This isn't a post about how cutting down trees for a holiday isn't "green." Hell, they're mass grown in farms, just like minks, for the sole purpose of being felled, propped up in a living room, and dressed like a cheap whore. I have no problem with people who want to wear real fur, eat veal, or have a real tree in their houses at Christmas. I just choose not to have one in my house. Want to know why?
The last three years my parents had a real tree - that's why! I'll get to that in a moment.
Ah, a real tree: the smell, the feel, the nostalgia, the icky sap, the ever-dropping needles, and the hassle of keeping the thing from turning into a fire hazard. Yes, I saw the Christmas tree episode of Mythbusters, and I know that it isn't really much of a fire hazard, but let's not harsh on my melodrama.
When I was little, my parents would load up my brother and me and take us out to the tree farm near our house. We would systematically stalk the neat rows until my father judged a tree to be straight, symmetric, and the perfect height. A worker would cut down the tree and stick it in a shaker to reduce needle droppage between putting it on the tarp in the trunk and getting it home and into the tree stand. After much cursing from my father about whether the tree was straight and centered on the wall, and damnit, everyone in this family must be crooked because that tree is as titled as the Tower of Pisa, he would check that the bulbs weren't burned out and then vanish, leaving my mother, my brother, and me to drag out the ornaments and decorate.
Finding the tree and getting it ready for decorating was not so fun. I always liked decorating, or rather, playing with the ornaments until my mother would get fed up and ask me to please stop it long enough for her to get everything on the tree. What could make things less enjoyable?
Chiggers (next-to-next-to-last year)
Yes, chiggers, redbugs, those little bastards that live in pine trees, whatever you call them. The tree gave them to us like an STD.
Spiders (penultimate year)
Our warm house was just what those egg sacks needed to convince the bundles of joy within that it was springtime. Spiders, spiders, everywhere. I better stop or I'll wind up in the corner shivering.
Grover, my cat (every year)
He batted all low-hanging ornaments, used the trunk as a scratching post, and tried to climb into the branches.
Allergy (ultimate year)
My brother had sneezing fits, itchy eyes, bleeding sinuses, the works.
After that, my mom vowed no more and got a fake tree. The first year we put it up, I broke out in hives from touching it. Go figure. Still, me getting all itchy and red for a few hours is far less troublesome than all that other rigmarole. So, please, no real trees for me. Hmm, that sounds Seuss-y.