I heard on the radio two days ago that 30 million households in the US have cut Christmas trees, 50 million have artificial trees. And of course the artificial tree numbers are growing, as are concerns about the plastic they're made of, the lead contained in some of the older models. I suppose I understand the attraction of the artificial tree and imagine you just take it out of the box, pop it open like an umbrella, plug it in and voila. But the pagan and eco me just can't get comfortable with a plastic tree, even if it does come with lights.
Last year, for the first time, we sidestepped our annual debate on cut tree or living tree by not having a tree at all. Cutting a tree for the holiday seems murderous to Joe (which is ironic, I think, given that his line of work exists only due to tree-icide). We had cut trees when Laurent was little, but since we moved to this house we've mostly relied on living trees. Living trees obstinately don't like to be indoors, and our efforts to keep them season-to-season were not generally successful. Those that survived are planted across the street in Joe's guerrilla forest. But the truth is that I never really liked the living trees so much. They're generally sad Charlie Brown trees, unable to bear the full load of ornaments. So last year I made do with a bowl of ornaments and some lights. Man, that reads so pathetic, but at the time it satisfied.
The 2009 edition happened by accident. A couple of weeks ago we pulled the bottle-drying rack normally reserved for beer-brewing out of the garage to support some unexpected honey bottling. Once we were done, it occurred to me that the bottle-rack has an ideal shape and could serve a different, celebratory purpose.
Behold, our 2009 "tree": lots of room for holidays cards around the base, just enough space for select ornaments, and the obligatory lights. It's goofy and I love it!