Well, I’ve finally recovered from Thanksgiving (let’s just say our travels were a little stressful), which is a good thing, since Christmas is now upon us. Unlike last year, when I was quite “blah” about the festivities, I’ve really been looking forward to them this year.
Maybe it helps that we have a bigger apartment, one without a queen-size bed in the living room, which gives us space for a tree and a few decorations. We also have a mantle where we can hang our stockings.
When we moved here in June, I noticed a few items tucked under the basement stairs in a storage area, left by previous tenants long gone. It smelled musty and looked dark and spidery, so I didn’t investigate too closely, but I noticed an artificial Christmas tree. I assumed it was more or less junk, but you never know, so early last week, I braved the spiders and dust, and pulled out the box.
My efforts were rewarded with a simple 6-foot tree that was probably used once before, quite clean and in great condition, complete with a string of lights. I set it outside to air out for a day anyway, and set about the more difficult task, convincing Matthew that this once, just this one year, it would be okay to have an artificial tree instead of a real tree, and it would save us the time and effort of hunting down a real tree* and the constant sweeping up of pine needles. And heck, compared to last year, when we didn’t have a tree at all, this marked a real upgrade.
We agreed to use my found tree, and, with that decided, we spent Sunday making our apartment nice and festive.
I have some fabric somewhere that will make a decent little tree skirt. All of the ornaments on the bottom branches are made of wood or fabric, safe for curious little hands. So far, Gabriel is nonplussed by the tree; unless we’re over by it, he more or less leaves it alone, which is fine by me.
Environmental-impact wise, both artificial and real trees have their downsides. Finding a used artificial tree (whether that’s one that just happens to turn up in your basement, or one from Craigslist or a garage sale) certainly reduces the impact, but there are other options. Instead of having an official Christmas tree, my MIL is decorating the fruit trees in her front yard, as well as her houseplants for indoor decorations. While Christmas trees are a well-rooted tradition, there are plenty of ways to create a festive holiday space without a tree.
*While there are a number of tree lots in town, as well as cut-your-own tree farms nearby, most conventionally grown Christmas trees are sprayed with chemicals that I don’t want in my house. In years past, Matthew went out to his grandparents’ and cut down a small field tree (i.e., a tree growing in an unmowed field where it would eventually be cut down anyway).