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.