sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, December 7, 2009

In Praise of Plastic Christmas Trees

I have a high ceiling in my living room. It lofts up to 24 feet above the slate floor. The price for a "real tree" plus the plastic netting for the tree and the tip you are expected to dole out to the guy who brokers your purchase and carts the tree to the truck came out to about $150.00 three years ago. Two years ago my family rebelled and in my absence, bought a fake tree - that is 8 feet tall and weighs about 200 lbs. I suggested they could have purchased a smaller tree, but they thought the King Kong tree (made in China) was a better choice.


December is my least favorite month. My brother, father and step-mother died in December. Memories of Christmas past are barbed and thorned with sweet memories that simply depress me because those people I love are not coming back. Can't I simply dole out cash and have the month end? In addition I'm a year older this month. Nothing to celebrate once you're over about 25 and I'm twice that.

Back to Christmas trees. Yes I love the smell of a real tree, but I don't like the sap, needles and constant need to keep it watered so that it doesn't dry up and burn up before the Big Day.

No matter how you position the tree in the stand and no matter how articulately you spin the tree so that the "good side" faces the public, if you're a guy, and there is a woman in your life, it won't be enough. I wonder if Jews have the same problem with the placement of the Menorah for Hanukkah (חֲנֻכָּה)  Or the black people who celebrate Kwanzaa and have the black version of the Menorah that they use in their celebration of African culture? Do they have placement issues or not. Likely, you simply drop the candle holder on a table and pronounce it "placed". Not so with a real Christmas tree.

The placement issue is solved with the fake tree. It also has lights embedded into it, so it's plug and play. No stringing required.

Of all the holidays, the most placement, perfect is Festivus. There is just a pole. It's easy to store from year to year (my plastic made-in-China tree stores in a box 2.5'x3'x6' and occupies space in the garage that could be occupied by other stuff). Festivus, unlike Christmas, is a holiday where you simply sit in a circle with your loved ones and you tell each other how they have disappointed you in the previous year.  Maybe it's not that much unlike Christmas...  Festivus is also a time for airing of other grievances and for feats of physical strength. The traditional Festivus meal is spaghetti. Unlike Kwanzaa, it takes place before Christmas on December 23.



If you use a Jewish Menorah, a Black person Menorah, a Festivus Pole, you'll never truly appreciate the bother of traveling to where the trees are, selecting a tree to cut, cutting the tree, hauling it home, setting it up, caring for it during the holidays and disposing of it in a proper way after the holidays - so you have no idea what I'm talking about when I praise the plastic tree.

PS - I wonder what the Chinese factory workers think of all those plastic lighted noble fir trees they make for households?