Real vs. Fake – It is the time of year again that while driving down just about any major road in the metroplex I’ve started to see tents popping up in parking lots, fields, and beside you local grocery or hardware store. All of the tents for some reason have the same design and, true to form, are selling the same thing: freshly cut evergreen trees for Christmas. The Christmas Tree people are in town and that means that the Christmas holiday is upon us. I love real Christmas trees. Live, green, sappy, evergreen smelling Christmas trees. Growing up my family would always go to the same tree people from Michigan each year and we’d pick out a tree together and take it home. Dad and I would do our best to get the tree into the house with the least amount of turmoil and wear and tear on the tree as possible, but Mom and Katie would almost always be close behind with a vacuum. Then can the arduous task of getting the tree into the tree stand and making sure it was straight. Dad and I would crawl underneath the tree and tighten the bolts and get covered in sap as Mom directed us as to which way the tree was still leaning despite our best efforts. But once the tree’s straightness had been signed off on by every member of the family we began to bring in the boxes of ornaments. This is more than likely one of my all time favorite Christmas memories. Decorating the tree and telling stories about each of the ornaments as we put them on. Talking about the new ornaments and who had given them to us. Talking about the old ornaments that are no longer with us because of the fateful tree incident of ’93. (I still miss that frosted glass deer) But there is nothing like the feeling when the last ornament is on and the lights are dimmed and we all would sit down on the couch and look at our handiwork. It was beautiful. Sandi Patty singing ‘Silent Night’ in the background, the fire in the fireplace reaching its peak, the multi-colored lights casting new shadows on the wall. I think I always appreciated it more because there was significant effort put into it and the tradition surrounding it meant so much.
Now, everyone has fake trees.
I don't have a real problem with fake trees.
But I still like real ones.
I am apparently an archaic fossil for it.
I have had several conversations with some of my closest friends over the past weekend and have been everything but publicly humiliated for my preference. I have one friend that for well over a year has been telling me that I’m the only person she knows that still thinks that real trees are a legitimate option. Everyone she knows has had a fake tree since for as long as she can remember. And the people who didn’t get one right away have by now. I am apparently the only one that still likes real trees.
I had a cup of coffee with another one of my friends the other day who explained to me that my opinion that real trees are the way that Christmas trees should be is a closed minded perspective to all of the possible options that are out there. By saying that I thought the real trees were the best, I was saying that 90% of the world’s population was wrong and that I was smarter or more ‘blessed’ than everyone else because of it. And if that was what I was going to believe, I really shouldn’t share it with anyone else unless I already knew that they thought the same thing.
And then, in a great conversation with someone I’m really close to, I was telling him about my recent struggle with the fact that he and I seem to be the only people left that still like real trees. He paused for a moment and told me that he switched to fake trees three years ago and had just keep it a secret from me because he didn’t want to throw me off.
Now I am officially alone with my beliefs.
Well, what if I did switch to fake trees? Maybe there is nothing wrong with them. Actually, I have never said that there was. I’ve just decided that for me and based on what I have experienced in my life, I like real trees. But what if I did switch? I don’t think I can now. My pride is caught in the middle of it. I have held on to what I thought through the ridicule of others; even though the persistent pressuring of people close to me to make the change. Maybe I would have come around to decide for myself that I like fake trees. But now, even if I decided that I was okay with the change, I would have to be wrong and make them right. I would lose and they would win. I’d be a pushover who caved to get them to stop bothering me about it, and for that reason alone – I’m going have a real tree this year.