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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Faking It for The Holidays: A New Tradition

When my husband I were dating way back in 1985, I remember the first Christmas he spent with my family...vividly. It was full of "firsts" for him. His first visit to a house with an actual "museum" room. Some of you may know it as the formal living room. Specifically, the highly decorated, elaborately styled silk curtains, velvet tufted furniture, vacuum marks on the broadloom, don't go in unless you are invited, kind of room.  It was adjacent to the formal dining room of similar decor as well as the location of the first time he had ever been spit on while dining (accidentally by my younger sister) as I watched in embarrassment while he wiped his shirt sleeve with his napkin where the offensive spittle landed. It was also the first time he saw our Christmas tree. An enormous, nearly kelly green, plastic wonder of who knows what department store.

My future husband turned to me, almost in disgust, and said "your family has a fake tree?" Of course I felt obligated to defend it with a lame "it's artificial" and "don't you think it's decorated beautifully?" And then it came, the the form of a shrug.

Growing up, my husband had always had a "real" tree every Christmas and it never occurred to him that his future bride thought it was okay to fake it. We got married in 1987 and enjoyed the beauty of live trees for 20 years. Becoming "real" tree snobs of sorts. Each year we usually put up 2 trees and 3 when we are hosting a holiday party. Always Fraser Fir's, often cut down by my husband, many years with kids in tow.

Two years ago when  my husband was traveling just days before Christmas, faking it once again seemed so attractive. Reasonable. Logical. Necessary. I knew finding, lugging, lighting and decorating the big tree alone was just going to be a near impossible task.  I ordered a new Christmas tree online. It was a 7 foot Fraser Fir pre-lit with 1,000 sparkling white lights.  It even came with a remote control! I was so excited when it arrived, even more excited when I was able to put it together by myself. And relieved when it turned out to actually look realistic. I purchased tons of fresh greens as I normally do and the house smelled wonderful. But, would my husband notice that I had faked it...faked Christmas?

Initially his jet-lag kept my secret.  It wasn't until he went up to the tree and put a branch between his fingers to check it for freshness and was scraped by plastic that he said "it's fake?" And once again I found myself  trying to defend it with, "but, isn't it so much better than the one my parents had back in the eighties and don't you think it's beautifully decorated?" My husband replied "Yes, just don't get carried away with faking it too much."  I put it up again this year, along with plenty of fresh greens and a small live tree in the dining room. Faking it is slowly becoming a new holiday tradition! Is it yours too?


  1. We used to always take the kids and cut a fresh tree. A few years ago we went to the fake route. Kids are grown and gone and I am the only one putting the tree up. I was the only one adding water to the real one and cleaning up the needles on the floor so fake it is now. I do have fresh clippings from Home Depot that you can get for free to have the wonderful smell.

  2. We always get a real tree for the living room (and it seems to get bigger every year) but I have fake trees everywhere else. In the kids' rooms, the sunroom and the's a little over the top. I like to get the real tree the second weekend of December or it's toast by Christmas. If I had to wait that long, I'd never get the house decorated. Oh wait....I did. And it's still not decorated. Well, there goes that theory.

  3. I love this post, you are such a good story teller, great picts, too!!! I have succumbed to an artificial tree now for the last 5 yrs. It is so much better for the allergies. My boys said, "Ah ha!! you are getting old!" I asked why they said that, they replied because you bought a fake tree, they pretty much hate it, but it is covered with many,many memories so they are getting use to it!!! Kathysue

  4. I guess I am still a tree snob. We still get the real tree and does it smell good!

    I could only consider a fake tree if it looked real, meaning not too perfect and with a gap or two. I like the imperfect!

  5. Totally fake, every branch. Easier, faster, earlier, cleaner, and recyclable so to speak. Now, if I ever get a fake turkey, then I will be worried. LOL!
    Happy Holidays XO

  6. This post is absolutely hysterical...thanks for bringing a smile to my face! If those bottom two trees are yours then you are faking it quite well! Fake tree, fresh greens, good design...sounds good, but I'm not there just yet!

  7. Oh my gosh this post had me laughing from start to finish! Are you sure you aren't telling the story of my family, minus the spittle?! lol We had a fake tree from the time I was in middle school and I loved being able to have it up and decorated by my birthday every year and not having it be half dead by Christmas. We ALWAYS had a fresh tree once we got married...fraser firs of there any other fresh tree?! And then a few years ago I was done, done with the needles, done with the watering and we got a fake tree. Actually my father gave it to us after my mom died and he didn't feel like having a big huge tree anymore.

    Yesterday when we finally got around to putting it up, my husband said "I'm sure glad we got a fake tree so that we don't have to clean up all the needles!" He was being snide because after lugging the tree in from the garage our floor was covered with "fake" needles hehe! But I don't have to water it, or check it for freshness. And aside from looking a little too perfect, and missing the scent of fresh greens (I do bring fresh ones in but they someone never quite compare), I love my fake tree and I'm not planning to go au naturale again...unless branches count as the ultimate "real" Christmas tree.

    Thanks for the laugh, I'm exhausted after having had Christmas throw up in my house today!

    Kat :)

  8. I must say, we do the real tree but when it stops being convenient I will fake it too. You have to do what works for you. When my father was ill for 17 years, my mother downgraded Christmas from a big real extravaganza (real trees) to a small artificial tree on a table and hardly any decorations. Christmas loses its lustre when someone is dying. The fact is, all the matters is that you have each other with whatever beauty you can muster to go along with all the love. Don 't sweat it. I no longer live my life to impress others. No one knows your story or your reasons but you do what is best for you and don't apologize. I am sure your home is filled with love and caring, and that's what matters most. And you have your husband home. Everything else, fake or not, is secondary. People worry too much about all that. Plus, the fake trees are gorgeous now. And I am a plastics engineer, so I say "keep buying em". :)

    xo Terri

  9. What a wonderful clever fun post! We are still in real tree mode. I can't see my husband ever giving in to faking it - but who knows. After days of nagging, I ending up getting the tree by myself so I might be induced to fake it sooner than later!

  10. Gail, in northern CaliforniaDecember 20, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    The news media always over-does it and I should probably just turn off the television, but I simply got tired of worrying about the tree catching on fire. Too many horrific images of Christmas trees going up in flames like blow torches. It's a little fake tree I use now AND my little granddaughter loves decorating it before they leave the Sunday after the long Thanksgiving weekend. ;-)

  11. Each year we swear we are going to buy a fake one, a good one like you got...and each year we cave and trudge to the nursery for a real one...the sap, the needles, the fear of fire...I am getting online after x-mas and ordering a fake on tradition at last!:)

  12. Currently, we're still on the "real" tree tradition. But, a remote control? I think I could be swayed!!!

  13. This post is to funny, love your faking. We're "real" all the way since we're in the country with to many places to go cut a tree. Love your blog, glad I found you.

  14. This had me smiling from
    start to finish....I am
    lucky that my hubby and
    I are on the same page.
    We have a 9ft pre-lit
    FAKE and I have to say....
    I love it. It comes down
    in two pieces and is stored
    in a bag, standing up in its
    stand. I do supplement with
    fresh greens and the amazing
    candles and potpurri from The
    Thymes. I tell myself that this
    is the "green" way to go, but
    really, it's the lazy girl's way
    to go : ) Your tree is lovely.
    xx Suzanne

  15. I met my hubby in 1985 as well! So yes, I grew up with a bad fake tree that was a pain to put together. Our arms very all scratched after sorting through and plugging in all the branches. After my parents divorced, my mom started getting real trees. My husband and I still get real trees but I must say I have been tempted by the return of the retro style silver trees I've been seeing.


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