Confession: We have artificial Christmas trees in our home. I used to be surprised at the sideways glances I would get if the subject came up. And goodness forbid if someone came to the house and asked, “Is that a real Christmas tree?” with a touch of judgement. Although, honestly, many people can’t even tell the difference.
Oh, I know. There’s something romantic about having a real Christmas tree. You get to host a piece of nature in your home. They give off a lovely scent. And besides, how cheesy is it to have an artificial tree?
I’ve always had fake trees (more on that in a minute) and really do prefer artificial trees. They hang out in the attic all year round and are available the moment we want them. We just retrieve the trees — no fussing of finding the “perfect” tree and schlepping it home.
Growing Up Fake
I actually grew up with a fake tree — much to the horror of my mom. I was always sick as a baby, but when Christmas came along, my mom says I was an absolute mess. Looking back at photos from that time, you can easily see the black rings under my eyes. Today they call them allergic shiners (like having a black eye) but people didn’t really know what to call them then. It turns out that I had severe allergies, which included the Christmas tree.
When the doctors finally figured out I had horrible allergies, my folks were given a laundry list of things they had to remove from the house and my diet (including all nuts and eggs). But the one thing my mom couldn’t believe she had to give up was her Christmas tree. Trust me, I get how important a Christmas tree (you can read about it here). But being the good mom that she is, she immediately went and bought a fancy schmancy fake Christmas tree.
Fake Christmas tree were different than they are now. Made with hard prickly plastic and one uniform evergreen color, this thing was built to last (as many things back then were). And somehow, that sucker is still going strong, although I really think it needs a merciful retirement.
Can You Really Be Allergic to Christmas Trees?
How can someone be allergic to Christmas trees? Glad you asked. Anyone who is allergic to mold, like what develops on the leaves in the fall, is allergic to Christmas trees. Once you cut down a tree, it immediately begins to form mold. This molding won’t bother most people, but people with mild allergies will definitely have issues. And for someone with severe allergies, it’s just a sentence to be miserably sick for the season, setting off a cascade of sinus infections and asthma.
And so, we embrace the artificial Christmas tree with love and gratitude. The tree is there when I want it, it doesn’t need tending, it holds its shape perfectly, practically looks real and neatly stores away for the rest of the year.
What do you prefer? A real tree or an artificial one?