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?


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

    I imagine them thinking CHA CHING!$$$$$ Money, money money means that they will OWN us. OWN our debt. And conquer us without the use of force.

    Must be nice....

  2. Having a fake Christmas tree is much easier to take care of than a real Christmas tree. Ever since I have been married, my husband has insisted on us having a fake Christmas tree because its both easier and safer than a real one. My husband's father was a fireman so he always heard stories of fires happening because of people not properly taking care of their real Christmas trees.

  3. My first time you read your stuff. You're funny -- you almost sounded like George Castanza.

    Are you kidding about the "Festivus" pole...i thought that was just a Seinfeld episode thingamagig...

    We put up our tree today...we did all you wrote about--Mom directing my uncle and me to turn the tree this and that way, move it here and there just a tad more, and to put a piece of wood underneath the base to tilt it straight.

    Ang guess who's in charge of watering the dead thing? Every morning and night, i have to add a cup of water to the tree-holder...this tree is like one thirsty drunk on a binge.

  4. I agree that it's much easier to take care of the fake tree but the atmosphere cannot be never so good like when you have real pine. The typical smell is one of the reasons. Well, and tree from China is something what I can't connect to Christmas. It's something like Thanksgiving turkey from China.

    Take care,

  5. Elli - Maybe we can get the Chinese to raise "simulated turkeys" for the US market... what a concept!

  6. We have two (2) plastic trees, tall ones. Last year we didn't set up either of them. It was a great Christmas. Bah Humbug.

  7. Hey, we share a birth month!

    I'm with you; I don't like birthdays and especially can't stand the holiday season. People seem to get into a tunnel vision focus-on-me-first-NOW mode which I find to be incredibly selfish. And the traffic is doubly dangerous, with people texting each other...

    Give me the days off, preferably in Spring or Fall. But celebrating the Winter Solstice is something that is outmoded since the advent of electricity.

  8. I can't say that I didn't at one point in my life agree with you, LL, about the hassles of Christmas.

    Then I became a home owner, and shaming my neighbors with my 'Griswoldian' Christmas lighting on my house became a blood sport.

    You can see my house from the surface of the moon this year, and our electric bill in January is going to be nearly that of Al Gore's mansion.

    Merry Christmas.

  9. Fredd- I compete with my neighbors through non-competition. Every other house on my block has a Grizwold style decoration and light scheme. I'm surprised they don't take down the grid. I, on the other hand, have a plastic tree that is visible through my front window to the street. That's it. I had a couple of those illuminated plastic deer a few years ago, but one was stolen, one stopped working and the wind took a third and it didn't look like a deer anymore. Maybe a hunchback badger...?

  10. Barco - precisely! The Summer solstice is nice because if you're a pagan you can dance naked under the moonlight. Or if you're not a pagan, like me, you can watch the pretty pagans dance naked. Dancing naked in cold weather is ok for women and I'm fine with that. If asked to join in, I'd be forced to decline (shrinkage) out of pride's sake.

  11. i know of one such transplanted homeowner from Minnisota -- she would probably come very close to outshining you in this "blood sport." The funny and unique thing about her is that on CHRISTmas night, she would take down every piece of lighting and decor and have it stored away by the next day...and her house as if it never graced CHRISTmas.

    Maybe she has slowed down a little and waits now 'til after New Year's night...and by daylight, all have been whisked away.

  12. If you don't put up all those silly decorations, and the neighbors do, you're ahead of the game. They'll think you're in financial trouble and won't talk to you for fear of being asked for money. Your real friends will come over to help you out, find out you still have huge investments in illegal whiskey stills, and get a good laugh at the expense of the more conventional residents in the area.

    Ho, Ho, Ho!


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