Fake tree? Yup. I’m not proud of it, ei­ther

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Jura Kon­cius

Our fam­ily’s move over to the faux side this hol­i­day didn’t play well on In­sta­gram.

Last week I posted a photo of our re­cent stop at Home De­pot to shop for fake trees. The com­ments ranged from “What?!?!?!” “No” and “I am so sorry” to “This AND the elec­tion? Way too much for one month. Sigh.”

A “face scream­ing in fear” emoji was posted. And there were of­fers of fir-scented can­dles.

I was clearly be­ing tree­shamed. And I to­tally deserved it. Through­out my de­sign writ­ing ca­reer, I have been a tra­di­tion­al­ist, mak­ing clear my dis­dain for silk flow­ers and ar­ti­fi­cial plants and my love of fine linen table­cloths and real can­dles. I chas­tized my col­leagues, call­ing their pre-lit, re­mote­con­trolled trees tacky and shud­der­ing in hor­ror at the sto­ries of how some con­sumers slipped tree-shaped pine air fresh­en­ers in the depths of their fake firs.

Last winter, I wrote about the hor­ror of gas fire­places vs. wood-burn­ing ones.

I also wrote an ar­ti­cle in 1999 sham­ing peo­ple who had fake trees. I am now ashamed of it.

But reread­ing it, I re­al­ized that, back then, my very metic­u­lous hus­band wrapped our tree with 1,000 lights. Last sea­son? The tree topped out at a cir­cuit­bust­ing 2,000 lights.

In that ar­ti­cle, his painstak­ing pro­ce­dure was well de­scribed by our then-9-year-old son.

“Dad sits down on the floor and starts straight­en­ing out the strings of lights. Then he starts wrap­ping them around the tree. It takes all day. Or even two days. He’s sort of grumpy, es­pe­cially if some of the lights go off af­ter he’s all fin­ished. Some­times, when he finds a knot in the string, he gets re­ally mad. Mom and I stay out of his way.”

Last year, af­ter my hus­band spent two days stress­fully work­ing on light­ing the tree, he ran out of time. My son, now 26, ar­rived for the hol­i­days and spent a day fin­ish­ing up the lights so we could put our hun­dreds of or­na­ments on the tree by the dead­line: Christ­mas Eve din­ner for nine peo­ple.

Why did we go fake? It could save our mar­riage. But there are other rea­sons, too.

• We just had our liv­ing room painted and got a new rug. Who wants branch scratch marks on the walls, sap stains on the rug and wa­ter marks on the hard­wood floors?

• We were tired of drag­ging the tree in from the back yard, lit­ter­ing the whole house with nee­dles and draw­ing blood from our hands. Not to men­tion wa­ter­ing the tree daily.

• The emer­gency trips to CVS for more lights were get­ting out of con­trol. We are con­vinced there is a con­spir­acy to man­u­fac­ture lights that last no more than one sea­son. They seem to go bad just as you’ve fin­ished in­stalling them while ly­ing on your back.

• We were sick of stock­pil­ing the tiny pack­ages of fuses that come with each string of lights. Do you know of any­one who has suc­cess­fully re­placed a fuse?

• The idea of lo­cal tree lots sell­ing real trees that al­ready have strings of lights wrapped around their branches by trusty elves never took off.

Yes, the real thing is worth it, but real life gets in the way. My son was all in. My hus­band said the choice to go fake was dis­ap­point­ing, but he could use the ex­tra two days for some­thing else. “The big­gest hur­dle for a tra­di­tion­al­ist like me is re­al­iz­ing the taste po­lice won’t be at your door if you give up on a real tree,” he said.

As we were fin­ish­ing up our trans­ac­tion at Home De­pot, my brother-in-law Chris called. My hus­band ex­plained that we were load­ing our tree-in-a-box into the car.

“You bought a fake tree?” Chris asked Mor­gan.

“Yes,” Mor­gan replied. I was proud of him for his forth­right hon­esty.

“What would Martha Ste­wart say?”

“She’d love the idea,” Mor­gan said. “We bought one of her trees.”

The Martha Ste­wart Liv­ing for Home De­pot ar­ti­fi­cial Christ­mas tree. Home De­pot

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