Dear Mr. Bradford,
My family is debating which type of Christmas tree to decorate the inside of our house with, and we have two options: real or artificial. Do you think that browsing and transporting a real tree is worth the effort, or should we stick with the typical artificial Christmas tree?
You have asked a wonderful question, but, as with so many things, the answer is a matter of personal taste. I’ve had both in my life. When I was a kid we would cut a real tree from my grandfather’s farm in Alabama. His farm had a lot of cedar trees, so I grew up with cedar Christmas trees rather than pine. The smell of cedar still reminds me of my grandparents and Christmas. To give you a well-rounded perspective, I asked the faculty to share their thoughts:
We always get a real tree to cover up the smell of my younger brother. I had a ferret once, and I hung a dried ferret poo on the tree. Told my mom that I made it in art class. She bought it until she took it off the tree after Christmas. It was glorious. –Mr. Bruce, English Teacher
We try and do the airing of the grievances from Festivus each year during the season. Otherwise, we have both, one real and 4 artificial trees. –Mrs. Byrd, Graphic Arts Teacher
Artificial tree all the way. While real trees are appreciated for their natural beauty, fake ones last longer and look better over the long haul. –Dr. Schexnaildre, Assistant Principal
I have two vintage aluminum trees from the 60s, and I always put up one. I have a color wheel, but I find it gets too hot. I use a programmable LED bulb that covers the spectrum. –Mr. Ingle, English Teacher
Always a real tree. The boys pick it out from the same place every year the first weekend in December. Almost all homemade ornaments. Nothing is breakable. Boone is insistent that there be a star on top. No bows or angels for him. He is very traditional. – Mrs. Wells, Art Teacher
We have an artificial tree that my husband and I bought our first Christmas together. We have a different theme every year for the tree. Last year was an extended family theme. We wrote to all of our relatives and asked them to send us a picture of their family. We made Christmas frames for all of them and hung them on the tree. We also always have a small tree about three feet tall that has all of the ornaments the girls have ever made at school on it. –Mrs. Welch, English Teacher
We use an artificial tree. I grew up with a real tree and always want one but my wife transforms into the Grinch each year and I lose the battle. –Mr. Franks, Guidance Counselor
We have a pre lit artificial tree…complete with strands of lights to stand in for the original lights that no longer work. –Mr. Tollett, German Teacher
Today, We have an artificial tree. I cried the year we bought it because I had always had a REAL tree growing up. I have grown to enjoy the simplicity and ease of a fake tree, but I miss the homey, authentic, old-fashioned feeling of a real tree. I also kinda felt like I lost a bit of my childhood Christmas experiences when we bought our fake tree because my kids wouldn’t know what getting a real tree was like. –Mrs. Petteys, Spanish Teacher
We have a family tradition of going to the Christmas tree farm, cutting down our tree and bringing it home to decorate together. As we unpack our ornaments, we reminisce about memories tied to various ornaments/years. Also, my dad sends each of us an ornament each year that we get to unwrap and put on the tree when we get our tree. These are always the first ornaments on the tree for the year. He always picks out something that suits each of our personalities/hobbies. When the children are grown and have their own home/tree, they will have their own ornaments to take and decorate their trees with. –Mrs. Carter, HMS Chorus Teacher
We have an artificial tree. The first year of our marriage we had a real tree. It was beautiful and smelled wonderful, but within a few days it was dead and little needles were all over my floor! The gas heat totally dried out the tree. It was then that I decided never again would we have a real tree. –Mrs. Young, Math Teacher
We have a family tradition – every year the Saturday after Thanksgiving we go to a Christmas tree farm and pick out a real tree! Everyone in the family has to approve – then we cut it down and bring it home to decorate. It’s a whole day of fun! – Mrs. Atwell, Social Studies Teacher
I have a 1950s or 60s “PECO PINE” aluminum tree that I unearthed in my grandparents’ attic. It looks like a giant silver toilet brush got caught in a light socket. Everyone who has seen it has commented on its unattractiveness. My grandmother told me she hid it in the attic because it was so ugly. She bought in to a fad and then became remorseful/embarrassed of it. I put it up every year, but I only put one branch into the silver broom-handle that serves as its trunk. It’s starting to shed, so I feel like the rest of the branches need to be preserved for posterity. (Also, my dogs are scared of it when all the branches are in.) -Ms. Murray, Drama Teacher
We have a “fancy” fake tree downstairs and a family tree upstairs. For the past few years we have used artificial trees upstairs, but this year we are going out on a limb and buying a real one. We buy an ornament on each family trip and we purchase an ornament for each of our kids each year that represents something about them (sport, band, hobby). Of course, homemade ornaments are used, too. We have a great time taking the ornaments out each year and reliving the moments they represent. –Mrs. Smith, Math Teacher
We put up an artificial tall, skinny tree. We love a real Christmas tree and used to get one every year. We also got really sick every Christmas until we realized we were allergic to the tree. So now we just burn an evergreen scented candle and try to pretend that our fake tree is real. – Mrs. Cosby, English Teacher
We inherited an artificial tree when we were newly married–a VERY USED one– but after a few more years of use it looked a lot like the Charlie Brown tree, part dueux. I bought a new one from Home Depot but when I got it home, realized it was too tall for the living room ceiling. Had to return it. We bought a new one and used it for a few years until, after storing it in the barn, some mice made a nest in the box, a whole family of mice. They were still in the box when we went to set it up (dead). Eewwww. We’ve since purchased a new, artificial, pre-lit tree. No mice, looks great. I think the idea of artificial trees is to use and reuse over and over, but it seems like we’ve been purchasing them more often than most. –Mrs. Hayen, Science Teacher.
When I was about 8 or 9 years old we had two Christmas trees. The one in our living room was my mother’s tree – the “pretty” tree we bought in a lot. It had all her pretty ornaments on it that we (meaning she) had collected throughout the years. It was a pretty tree – the kind you’d see in a magazine. My dad decided we were going to get a second tree……. we went out into the woods behind our house and selected a tree, cut it down and brought it back home and put this tree in our less formal – DEN. There was something special about the kind of pine tree this was too , but I can’t remember what kind of tree it was – it had something to do with my dad’s childhood memories about Christmas trees and the kind of tree HIS family had when he was growing up……. Anyway – everything on this tree was homemade. We strung popcorn together, we made those different colored chains to wrap around the tree….. it was VERY OLD-FASHIONED ……. and we loved it. Santa put our presents under the old-fashioned tree that year and it is a memory that all of us remember fondly today – both my siblings and my parents remember the year we had two trees, the year we cut our own tree down and hand-made all the ornaments! It was great.
P.S. – my dad actually wrote an editorial about this Christmas memory that was published in the Marietta Daily Journal a few years back.