Let's Talk with Terry Ambrose

December 8, 2022

Real or fake? The Great Christmas tree debate is on!

Real tree or fake? That is the question. Twenty years ago, Kathy and I were solidly in the real-tree camp. We loved finding the perfect Christmas tree. Our annual tradition became even more fun when we moved to Idaho, bought a 4×4 (long before it was fashionable), and braved the elements. In those days, I was convinced there was nothing better than the smell of a new, fresh Christmas tree. Well, maybe the aroma of chocolate chip cookies baking…but, I digress.

Once we returned to California, things changed. Finding a tree remained a tradition, but there were so many people, the trees became more expensive, and life just seemed more hectic.

We received our first artificial tree as a Christmas gift. We were ecstatic. No more tree shopping! No more crowds! No more tree disposal! (You’ve got to admit, it gets pretty messy by the end of the season.) So many benefits. So little downside.

Twenty years later

One thing they don’t tell you about artificial Christmas trees when you buy one is that they have a limited lifespan. At some point, much like everything else in life, they just start to look old and tired. For the past five years, ours has dropped little fake needles that we kept discovering almost until the next Christmas. Three strands of lights on the tree die one after the other, so supplemented with lights of our own.

Finally, this year we decided to pop for a new artificial tree. This time, though, we downsized slightly. The added benefits are that it takes up less space in the house and is much easier to set up. I love the fact that rather than having to hunt for the six green plugs that always seemed to hide in the tree, all we have to do is plug the sections together and the lights work. Advances! Gosh, who knows? By the time we’re ready for our next tree, we may all just be using holograms!

How do you feel about Christmas trees? Are you in the real-trees-only camp, or have you made the switch to artificial? And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, do you have similar decisions to make with a different type of holiday decoration?

By the way, for those who love Christmas mysteries, The Killer Christmas Sweater Club is free on Thursday, December 8! Click here to grab your copy on Amazon.

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Want to know more about author Terry Ambrose? Visit his website.

Posted in Let's Talk, with Terry Ambrose • Tags: , , |  15 Comments


15 thoughts on “Real or fake? The Great Christmas tree debate is on!

  1. We have a small fake tree that is so very easy to put up. At our age (I am 77 and my husband is 82), we need simple and easy at every turn.

  2. Hi Terry! George and I are at odds with this issue. I love real trees. He prefers artificial. We alternate between the two, but not every year. As you mentioned, artificial trees don’t age very well. After we dispose of one, I choose real trees for a few years. Then, I weaken, and we buy a new artificial one. It could go either way this year. Ho! Ho! Ho!

  3. When the kids were little, we had fun going to a Christmas tree farm and chopping one down. We did that for several years. In Montana, you could go to a designated part of the forest and just free-range for a wild tree. But when they were all moved out, an artificial one made a lot more sense! I don’t know exactly how many we’ve gone through.

  4. We have it easy for Hanukkah. We’ve switched from a menorah with real candles to one with electric candles. Much easier and no melted wax to clean up. Otherwise, I decorate with tinsel and dreidels and whatever other tchotchkes I’ve picked up over time.

  5. I am solidly in the fake tree camp now. I protect my tree with a specialty canvas bag. Every year I zip it up fully decorated, then store it. When December rolls around again, I haul it out, unzip it, and the Christmas tree is Ready! I get my “real tree” fix in with my sister, who still uses a real Let’s-go-chop-it-down-fresh tree every year.

  6. I love real trees for the holidays but I’m allergic, so when we put up Christmas trees years ago they were faux (sounds nicer than “fake”). But these days between rampaging pets and lack of floor space, I’ve gone to the metal “ornament holder” style of table top trees. Just whip it out of the box, hang some ornaments on it and, voila! Plus, we have plenty of pine trees on our property and an abundance of pine cones, so I get my Christmas tree fix just walking outside.

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