Thursday, December 9, 2010

About Plastic Trees...

As Erin said, our conceptions of 'proper' Christmas decorations differ because we both have strong memories of what was done in our parents' homes.

I just don't understand what he has against multicolored lights.  I'm with him on the Victorian all-white look: it's kind of bland and boring.  But all blue makes the room look cold.

There's another issue at play here, though: 'real', i.e. dead tree, or fake tree?

My parents had a fake tree that they hauled out every year, and my mother had me convinced that this was the environmentally and morally responsible thing to do.

But here's Slate.com's take on the environmental impact: http://www.slate.com/id/2180086/

Sum-up of the article: Many fake trees can break down and release nasty chemicals into your air, but years and years of real tree transport is more polluting than shipping a fake tree once from China. So it's almost a wash, with a slight advantage toward real trees because of disposal issues.

Erin and I have had a real tree just once in the years we've lived in apartments.  They start out smelling okay, but you have to keep them watered (and not spill water all over the floor like I did), and if you have it for a while the water starts to get rank, and the tree stump can molder, and you'll be vacuuming up (and stepping on) tiny sharp flammable needles until Valentine's Day.  You could leave my parent's fake tree up and decorated until Valentine's Day if you really wanted to, and it just waited patiently to go back to the attic.

After a year when she got the look exactly how she wanted it, my mother started leaving the lights twined around the branches in storage.  This saved lots of time, and makes sense to me.

My favorite ornaments are bells.  My parents have a collection of bells, both free-hanging, and a few lovely metal ornaments that consist of stylized snowflakes surrounding a bell.

Going through the ornament box is a lot like a time warp, because there are so many old art projects, old gifts tucked into odd corners.  The pom-pom mice wreaths are actually still kind of cute.

To close: Erin is crazy, multicolored lights are much prettier, not so much of how they look on the tree, but because of the way they look in the room when the other lights are off.  The whole space glows with a warm shifting color. 

Or so I remember, from evenings spent napping and reading, snug and dry under the branches of a plastic tree.

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