The Christmas decorations have come down from the attic, including a 7-foot plastic tree with pre-hung lights. When it’s put together, it will grace the picture window overlooking the back yard. My wife will spend a day hanging stuff from it.
For seven years now, we have not had to bargain with some dude under a white tent over a $60 Christmas tree. We have not had to haul it to the house, balance it in a stand or keep it watered.
Instead we have been erecting the giant, green toilet bowl brush. From across the den, it looks like a real tree. The color’s right, the shape is perfect. But up close, this tree has more plastic than Pamela Anderson and Phyllis Diller combined.
Its appendages can be fixed into any shape. It doesn’t droop or shed. The biggest challenge is taking it apart in January and stuffing it back in the box.
But there is a price to pay for this convenience.
Consider that just about all plastic trees are made in China, which is the No. 1 greenhouse gas producer in the world. Nearly one-quarter of all the world’s carbon dioxide emissions can be traced to China.
When you finally get rid of a plastic tree, it heads to the dump where the PVC plastic and metals it contains may take centuries to degrade. Not so with a real tree.
In addition, by not buying a live tree every year, I do not contribute $60 or more to an American Christmas tree grower who has carefully nurtured and shaped the tree over four or five years. It’s like living in Mississippi and eating Vietnamese catfish, in Arkansas eating potatoes instead of rice, or in Louisiana eating crawfish from the Jiangsu Province.
When will we learn that nothing says Christmas like a real, American-grown tree, complete with cedar smell and falling needles, in all its imperfect glory.
Of course, purchasing a live tree from a vendor is still a departure from the Christmas tree tradition as I recall it, when my father and I jumped a barbed wire fence at the back of our property and harvested a columnar cedar that kept the house smelling Christmassy for weeks.
But anything is better than the thing we’re about to erect in my den.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, the first fake Christmas trees were patented by the Addis Brush Company in the 1930s, using the same machinery that made their primary product – toilet brushes.
So there you have it. What would you rather hang your ornaments on? A home-grown Christmas tree or a giant, green, toilet bowl brush? My wife and I have made a decision. We’re going with the real thing this year.