O Tannenbaum :: A Peaceful, Simple Christmas…Tree


h, Christmas trees. We have a storied history.

Growing up, I lived on some wooded land in Virginia. When we needed a Christmas tree, my dad would grab the chainsaw and the family would tromp through the woods in search of a beauty.

For me, a real tree was essential to the Christmas experience; I couldn’t fathom what would possess someone to go faux.

Throughout my college years, Mom placed a moratorium on the no-fake-trees rule and sent me a miniature one to display in my dorm room. It always featured a lovely smattering of homemade and (of course) Texas-themed ornaments.

After getting married, I assumed I would return to celebrating the yuletide with a fresh-cut tree.

Yet what to my wondering eyes should appear but a husband…who liked fake trees.  What.

Our first Christmas (’04) in a tiny, roach-infested Chicago apartment. Those were the days…

We spent our first Christmas in a tiny apartment with no room for a tree besides the fake mini one from college. Conflict averted.

The following year my mother-in-law was downsizing and brought us her fake tree. Sweet MIL innocently produced the tree with enthusiasm while I attempted to conceal my horror.

Hubs did not conceal anything. He was cackling in the corner, knowing I couldn’t say anything without appearing ungrateful–and that he had just won the Great Christmas Tree Battle.

I don’t remember the gory details of the discussion that ensued afterwards, but the end result was us displaying the fake tree.


Proof of Hubs’ victory and my conversion :: our faux tree and a happy wife, Xmas ’08.

But, the shocker was I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. Ironically, I even kept it up through February because we lacked a decent reading lamp for that corner of the room.  Yup.

And we’ve displayed it in our home every year since.

It’s kind of grown on me–I guess because it was free (can’t beat that, yo), pre-lit, and I can always get my fix of pine smell from a fresh wreath or two.

Xmas Tree1

It wasn’t until this year–when the last of our pre-lit lights stopped working and I saw all of the adorable Facebook pictures of people with saws hauling their freshly-cut trees and babies on wagons at the tree farm–that I started to question our devotion to the fake tree.

I probably could have talked Hubs into a fresh tree, packed up the babies, and headed to the tree farm.

But then I remembered my commitment to a simple, peaceful Christmas

And on that quiet Sunday afternoon, it didn’t seem so peaceful and simple to pack up our perfectly fine fake tree and haul everyone out to cut down a fresh one.  Or pay for a fresh one, for that matter.

Maybe we’ll prioritize getting a real one next year.

But this year, for us, peaceful and simple looks like stringing some extra lights on the one we already have and calling it good.

Do you have Christmas tree preferences?

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About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • I prefer real Christmas trees but honestly this is only our second year of actually having a tree. We always traveled to be with both families over Christmas/New Year’s and couldn’t justify the expense. We’ve always had lots of greenery around though, both fake and real.
    I laughed at the faux tree gift part and you are a super cute, happy wife. 😉

    • Yes, the expense. The frugal part of me loves that my tree was/is free. The rest of me just wants more pine-smelling stuff in my house :).

  • Christy Staats

    Lol. I quite enjoy the look of horror on your face. It’s funny. I can imagine “Hubs” laughing as MIL gave you the tree..all so clear in my head. 🙂

  • Christy Staats

    I grew up with a fake one and didn’t have a real one til maybe end of high school early college… and then my parents did that for a few years… maybe 8? Now they have a fake one.. and me… well 6 Christmas’ abroad with 6 different families (or uh er… kinda… the first one was on a cold freezing greek “tropical” island without any family to stay with and just my random friends) and some years I get a real tree. Some years get a mini real tree. Some years I don’t bother. Because i am going to get carted around for Christmas anyways.

    • Where will you be spending this year’s Christmas???

      • Christy Staats

        A gal I disciple is a staff kid and I am friends with her whole family so I am going down to stay with them in Buckinghamshire for a couple days. I should blog about the “Wandering Christmas elf… when Christmas is up for grabs every other years…” It is helpful of for my own future family to have seen so many other peoples families at Christmas! lol

  • I don’t have strong feelings either way. Since we’re traveling from December 18th on, I didn’t even bother pulling out our sad, fake tiny tree this year. I loved reading your Christmas tree history. 🙂

    • Traveling from the 18th on?! Bless you! You’ll have to schedule some quiet moments in the midst of all of that, a la your introvert posts, huh? 🙂 I’m pretty sure I’d need to! 🙂

  • We are real tree-ers. We were once wooed by the pre-lit, easy to set up artificial tree for the first few years of marriage but are back to the real tree. It was super important to me growing up so we wanted to start it again after starting a family. Here it is inly $10 to get a permit and go in the mountains and chop it down so we totally feel like the Griswolds. Thankfully the last couple years it has been 50 + degrees when we went 😉 Your tree looks beautiful!