Features — 07 December 2010
Should I buy an artificial Christmas tree or a real one

Should I buy an artificial Christmas tree or a real one?

With less than three weeks left to go before Christmas, people who haven’t bought already are looking around for Christmas trees to take home.

I guess we are used to living in times of abundance because, when I was a kid, a Christmas tree was a real live fir tree, grown in some nursery or forest specifically so it could be sawn or chopped down in time to be sold for a Yuletide decoration. I would go out with my dad to buy a tree and bring it home, and then we’d bring it home triumphantly on top of the car and install it in a corner of the living room. There, my parents and I would get out the boxes of Christmas decorations and lights, stored from the year before, and we would spend an hour or so festooning the tree with all the fancy bits and bobs that turn it into a Christmas tree.

There were the strands of colored lights that were draped all over the tree. When I was very small each of these lights was a screw-in type that could be replaced if a bulb went dead. Grandpa told me that in his day, they still used little candles in clip-on holders to decorate the tree. But they were much too dangerous and could easily set fire to the tree and burn the whole house down. Modern Christmas tree lights are so much more civilized, they are made from tiny colored LED lights or even colored strands of fiber-optics. Much easier to set up and take down, and infinitely safer for the family home!

The other kinds of Christmas decorations would be the fragile colored balls, made of very thin glass. These were clipped with springy wire to the tips of the branches of the little fir tree.

The final touch was to place a star or an angel on the very top of the tree, and thus turn it into a real Christmas tree… a Christmas tree just waiting for all the family’s gift-wrapped presents to be placed on the floor underneath the tree.

That’s the kind of Christmas tree I remember from when I was a kid, and the ind of Christmas tree that I and my wife would assemble each Christmas when our own children, who were boy and girl twins, were little and still believed in Santa Claus. There was one change though, my wife and I used an artificial Christmas tree that was stored away at the top of a cupboard until it was that time of year again.

So when you go out looking for just the right Christmas tree to bring back to your home, you will find a wide variety of tree types to choose from.

You can still opt for a real live Christmas tree, but they drop pine needles all over the floor. I would urge you to go with a modest-sized artificial Christmas tree of some kind. These range in size from trees a couple of feet tall to trees that are high enough to reach your ceiling. Take your pick, choose whatever color you want too, because the tree doesn’t have to be green any more. It can be red or white. It can have built-in LED lights or fiber optics.

Take it home, and I hope your tree brings you and your loved ones all the good cheer and togetherness that Christmas-time is all about. Because, when you boil it all down to the core of things, whether you are religious or if you are not, Christmas is all about love.

Image via Wikipedia


About Author

David Harvey, Editor

David Harvey left school at 17 and went straight into newspapers as a cadet reporter. (He also a keen photographer and learned both trades.) He worked as a photojournalist in Hong Kong and as a war correspondent in Vietnam during the war. He moved to Australia in the late 1970s and got involved in I.T. during the mid-80s. This website is his latest venture here, combining news-gathering with the power of the internet. See: news-reporter

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