Real or Fake?

Where do you stand when it comes to the Christmas tree, artificial or real? My father might have been the original Clark Griswold, some of my earliest and fondest memories are of getting all bundled up and heading out to the frosty majesty of the winter landscape in search of one of the most important Christmas symbols, the Christmas tree. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to continue the tradition with my children. Though I will admit it’s not all warm hugs, smiles, compliments, matchy outfits, and hot cocoa topped with whipped cream that all the Instagram posts make it out to be. It’s more like an adventure or welcomed parental challenge if you will, there’s some resistance, etiquette, and ultimately a compromise. Resistance? Who could resist such a magnificent family experience?  Tweens and Teens. 


“We’re not coming all the way out here just to get one of those stupid ties with Santa Clauses on it are we?” -Audry Griswold-

Now I’ll admit, they nailed that quote, and the tone was spot-on! When you announce to your children, more specifically your tweens and/or teenagers, that you are going to cut down the family Christmas tree get out your umbrella because the onslaught of comments will hit you like a category 5 hurricane. If resistance could be a job teenagers would be millionaires. It’s like a gift every child receives upon entering adolescents, that persistent high pitch whine that just burrows inside parents’ heads. Parents will need to push past the resistance, just when you think you’re going to capsize, I promise, you’ll hit the eye of the storm. Music helps, drown out the high pitch complaints and whines with Christmas music, more specifically Christmas Carols. “FA LA L AL LAAAAAA. Take it Russ. LA LA LA LAAAA…”!!! 


Upon arrival, it’ll be like you’ve birthed new human beings. Suddenly they’re eager to get their hands on a saw, grab a tree cart, and win. Yep, I said win. Because suddenly it’s a competition to see who can locate the fullest, greenest, most perfect tree. And the race is on and the clothes are coming off. For those not familiar, there is a certain etiquette that comes with hunting down the perfect tree. So, when at a tree farm, if you see a tree with a mitten, scarf, or since it’s been so unseasonably warm this year, a sock, t-shirt, or bra on it it means that tree has been tagged as a possibility for another tree farm customer, hands OFF! 

Once your family is practically naked you know it’s time to make the big decision and slowly walk back through the tree farm in search of everyone’s articles of clothing and make the ultimate decision. The compromise! 


As you walk back through the tree farm carefully locating each family member’s article of clothing you will gather around each tree carefully deciding if it is “the one”.  There are rounds, did I forget to mention that? Similar to the Presidential debates, each child will address the audience and be given time for a rebuttal. You might actually walk through the tree farm an up worth of three or four times because those same adolescents that were so adamant about not going to cut down a tree are now as equally adamant about the family selecting their tree. They will argue their stance on the needles, the fullness, color, smell, and shape, but ultimately the grand winner in the Christmas tree selection is a compromise. That’s right, after everything you went through to get the family to the tree farm, the onslaught of whiny comments, endless FA LA LA LA LAAAA’s they left hanging in the air, the “mom look” you had to hand out like free samples at Costco, and all so you could get home, place the compromised tree in the stand, and realize it has a two-foot trunk, thin on one side and shaped like a square. Why?


Why go through all of that for a tree? Everyone remembers their first. Think about that, they say there is nothing that beats that first sip of wine, the taste of cake, in fact, you really only need that first bite or sip, the second, third, or even the eighth bite or sip will never be the equivalent to the anticipation that built up before the first. Cutting down the family Christmas tree is the first sip, the first bite of Christmas. I can practically smell the pine, feel the sun, hear my grandmother’s voice, and taste the experience of cutting down a Christmas tree. See, when we take that first step on the path toward that perfect tree we are also laying down the neural pathways toward our memory banks. Thus, cutting down the Christmas tree is the first memory of Christmas and I’ll admit, she’s a beaut!  

FYI-we cut our’s down at Salsberry Tree Farm, trees are only $45, and they provide the saw and tree cart

One thought on “Real or Fake?

  • Nice tradition. If I were to celebrate Christmas, which I don’t, I would go for a fake tree and use the same one every year for ecosystem sustainability purposes. You know, grow trees don’t cut trees, and all. But we would have a different tradition, like board games and a movie together with hot cocoa.

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