Life

After About 20 Years, I Finally Put Up a Christmas Tree

You could say it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my place. I finally broke down and bought a new Christmas tree.

For the first time since I moved to Charleston, and even years before that, I put up a Christmas tree in my living room. It’s not that I have anything against Christmas trees in general. I just haven’t gotten around to putting one up in the past.

Every year, a Christmas tree farm sets up a big tent in the shopping center across the street from my home. But I never wanted a real tree. I love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, but at the same time, I hate the notion of killing a tree just to bring it into my living room for a few weeks. I’d rather that three stay alive and give us a little more oxygen. (These days, I think more people need to speak less and breathe more anyway.)

When I was a kid, the tree was always of the artificial type. My parents and I spent an entire evening assembling it and decorating it. Back then, we’d build the tree itself, then string lights — the big, bulky bulbs that got super hot. Then we’d add gold garland and all sorts of ornaments. We’d finish things off with silver icicles. The dog would always watch this spectacle with curiosity, but he never bothered the tree. The cat would wait for the tree to be assembled and then curl up under it and enjoy the heat from the bulbs.

I looked at Christmas trees over the past couple of years, figuring that I’d break down and buy one sooner or later. I actually convinced myself the tree would be a 2024 project.

But I found myself on a week’s vacation with normal December vacation plans not set, and it just dawned on me that I could very easily check this off the list this year.

Have you priced Christmas trees lately?

There was a time when $100 would buy a nice artificial tree as well as a reasonable supply of ornaments. Those days are mostly long gone. In fact, I found a 7-foot artificial tree on sale for $98 at one store. But when I called to make sure they still had them in stock, the employee told me they were out.

“That must have been a really good deal,” she said after checking with other stores in the area. “They’re all sold out.”

She told me everything else they had was in the $298 to $498 range.

“The $98 tree must have sold because people don’t want to pay $300 for a tree,” I told her.

Sure, technology has improved the Christmas tree “experience.” When I was a kid, Christmas trees didn’t come “prelit.” That’s now more common than the unlit variety from what I’ve seen at stores.

But prelit isn’t high-tech enough. The lighting is now LED — color-changing LED, to be exact. With the press of a button, your tree can go from all-white light to a range of bright, bold colors.

Who knew?

Depending on how much you want to pay, they even offer trees with fiber optic branches that seem to “radiate” color and brightness. Different hues can glide up, down and around the tree in waves like a psychedelic fantasy.

But it’s not just the lights that come in a variety of colors

For the first time, I put up a tree with snow flocking, which looks like a tree got hit with that artificial snow that comes in spray cans. But the walls in my living room are gray and the molding is white, so the flocking, as you can see in the photo above, seemed to work well.

If the traditional green or the white flocking doesn’t do it for you, there are plenty of other options these days. You could go super-retro and buy one of those aluminum-looking trees. And yes, they still make those spinning color wheels that shine onto the tree!

But there are plenty of other options these days. The store where I bought my tree sold several “less common” options. They had a couple of trees they labeled as “black fir.” Well, I’ve heard of black spruce trees, but they’re still green. These trees, friends, were actually pitch black. The branches, the needles — all black. It made me wonder if you have to hate Christmas to buy one.

The less traditional options don’t stop there. They sold two shade of pink trees. One was what I’d label a “pink champagne” variety. It was the color of a pale rosé. But if that isn’t pink enough, they have one that’s the shade of Pepto Bismol. You’d have to really, really like pink to bring that puppy home.

And to make sure the primary colors get equal time, you can also find full-fledged rainbow Christmas trees. With a tree like this one, you don’t even need the colored lights! In fact, you might actually overdose on color if you tried to add them.

If even that isn’t non-traditional enough, you can choose a lighted Christmas willow tree instead. It’s interesting in the way a modern art exhibit might be…but I don’t get the same Christmas “vibe” from this one.

After the tree was up and decorated, I was able to sit on the couch and enjoy it with the Collie, who seemed fascinated by the whole thing. I’m glad I went ahead and brought home the tree earlier than planned.

And I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

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