Monday, December 3, 2007

On the Superiority of Artificial Christmas Trees

When my brother was in second grade, his teacher assigned his class to answer the question of whether it would be better to be an artificial or a real Christmas tree. My brother was the only one in the class who answered that he would rather be an artificial Christmas tree. If he were an artificial tree, he said, his needles would never turn brown and fall off; and he wouldn't be thrown away immediately after Christmas. Instead, he would get to live year after year and always look nice. My brother was a very smart little second grader. Artificial trees are superior. Aside from being a fire hazard, natural trees are also a nuisance. Even when they don't turn brown before Christmas, they always drop copious quantities of needles; and if the tree is sited on carpet, you'll be living with the needles for months into the new year. Artificial trees are symmetrical where natural trees are not, particularly for the relatively inexpensive trees that normal people buy. You never have to turn the stunted, barren side of an artificial tree towards the wall because artificial trees don't have a stunted, barren side. It's true that decent artificial trees are more expensive than comparable natural trees, but it makes up for this with its longevity. Artificial trees can easily last ten or fifteen years if they are properly cared for, and even expensive ones are cheaper than ten or fifteen natural trees (even when you discount the future cost of those natural trees to present value). What do natural trees have on artificial trees? That pine smell? That pine smell is overrated.

5 comments:

Matt Hagen said...

The appeal of recently deceased conifer's over artificial trees is mostly about tradition. The annual ritual of going out to our land in Jasper, picking out the best looking short-leaf pine tree and chopping it down was a big part of my childhood memories. The numerous pricking injuries trying to put ornaments on retributive bastards are also fond memories.
Of course, the appeal was muted after they sold that land. Now my folks and I just go to our respective hardware store/tree farm and pick out the cheapest fir/spruce we can find (firs and spruces are MUCH more forgiving in the pricking department.)
I think my parents have figured out the best compromise. They put up an artificial tree inside the house with normal ornamentation. Outside the house they put a real tree and let the kids decorate with the whole messy popcorn/Cranberry garlands they created (plus the bubblelights, cause those are just cool!)

letitia said...

Plus, many of us have had our love of real trees reinforced by a yearly viewing of the Charlie Brown Christmas special, where we are taught that the real meaning of Christmas has a lot to do w/ loving the dubious charms of a forlorn, bedraggled, natural tree. (At my house we do have an artificial tree, mainly because the pro-real-tree contingent is not the contingent that will be driven insane trying to get said real tree exactly straight.)

Matt Hagen said...

I almost mentioned the Charlie Brown Christmas Special in my above response. If the Rutledges had an artificial tree, no one could kid Kara's mom about picking out the 'Charlie Brown' tree every year. There have been some real doosies, let me tell ya'

mamacita said...

So we can just replace the words "artificial tree" with "clip-on tie" and you'd be totally on board with it, right?

Chris said...

You have a smart brother! I grew up having a real tree each year, but as I got older I got over the authenticity and came to favor the practicality of an artificial christmas tree. Plus it lasts for years.