12/13/2010

When I am King: Holiday Treedition

When I am King...

All Christmas trees will be fake.

It's such a wonderful time of year, Christmas. Or Hanukkah, if you prefer. Or as some might call it, December.

In any case, it's a great month: a time full of family tradition. One of the best traditions must certainly be the decorating of the tree. You head out with the brood to the nearest old-growth forest, choose the best tree you can find that fits onto the roof of your Prius, and play the Merry Woodcutter to chop that baby down. You drive home, singing Christmas Carols (or Hanukkah Hymns, if you prefer). Once home, you bustle that tree into the corner, where it radiates with a fresh pine smell reminding everyone of the forest it called home until you killed it. Then you make hot chocolate, spiced cider, and mulled wine, get the boxes of ornaments down, and spend the evening in happy harmony, decorating, being together, and spending happy moments that will live in unviewed digital photographs on a hard drive for millennia to come.

Or:

You drive to one of the tree vendors in town, park in the overcrowded lot, wind your way through mobs of other shoppers around bundles of tree corpses that are trussed-up and toe-tagged with prices, and choose the tree that looks like the best combination of (1) fits under the ceiling, (2) not too many gaping holes and dead branches, (3) not too obviously desiccated, and (4) painfully expensive but not as much as some. You tie the tree on top of the car where it proceeds to scratch the paint in its death-throes, cart it home, drag it into the house (laying a carpet of dead needles along the way), muscle it into a tree stand, and prop it up in the corner where it begins to fall into disrepair immediately. Then begins the decorating, which starts with untangling the strings of lights and realizing that none of them light up due to dead bulbs. Meanwhile, the only smell from the tree remotely like pine is pee from your dog, who decided that an inside tree is still a tree.

The glorious tradition of felling a Christmas tree in nature, if it ever really existed, is gone like so many other past-times of yore, such as the hoop-and-stick game, or sitting by the wireless listening to the Billy and Edith Hour, Brought to You by Acme Soap.

And so we bought a fake tree.

For the past three years, our family tradition has consisted of finding the box, removing the tree from it, putting it together, and plugging it in. Done. A few minutes after that, the ornaments are on and there's actually time to have a glass of mulled wine or five.

When I am King, life will be more real by being more fake. Christmas trees are just the first step: Why stop there? If we replace the trees in our yards with replicas, we won't need to worry about leaves in the gutter. Fake plants in the garden will go a long way toward eliminating weeding. And artificial turf in place of our lawns will provide year-round green without all of that fuss. And all of these measures will ensure a more natural looking outdoors as global warming slowly kills off the real foliage.

Tradition will live on, of course. For example, we will watch the same Christmas shows every year. Just turn on the tube, and there they are. Next to the plugged-in tree. Instant tradition.
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