Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tree Trimming

By Lucy Valentine
From Heather Webber’s Lucy Valentine Novels.

If you’ve read my latest adventure (Deeply, Desperately—don’t be fooled by the sunshiny summery cover—the book takes place in December), you already know my favorite time of year is Christmastime. In my opinion there is no such thing as having too many lights or ornaments or garland or even those giant inflatables (much to my grandmother Dovie’s dismay). My little beach cottage always looks like it could fit right in on the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation backlot—and I love every extension cord of it.

One Valentine family tradition is to have a live tree, the more woebegone the better. Crooked? Not a problem. Bare-branched? Just more space to hang dangling ornaments. Tiny? No big deal. We always choose trees with character, then plant them on Dovie’s property as soon as the ground thaws.

I’d never dare to get an artificial tree, or (gasp) a cut tree. I may as well just cut my branch off the family tree and put it through the wood chipper. My mother and Dovie don’t go to great lengths every year (their arrest records speak for themselves) to express just how they feel about glorious old trees being cut down and displayed on Boston Common for the sake of oohing and ahhing for a few weeks.

I’d never tell them, but I think a fake tree holds a lot of appeal. No muss, no fuss. Some even come pre-lit--no tangled lights to deal with. Sounds like a good deal to me. Plus, I can keep it in the house for weeks and weeks without having to worry about losing pine needles, sticky sap or watering. Though I’d still have to worry about Grendel using the tree as a scratching post…

But for now, I’ll keep my little Charlie Brown trees, and as the December sales start I’ll be looking for deals on extension cords…and more inflatables.

Tell me, if you celebrate Christmas, do you have a real tree or a fake one? White lights or colored?

23 comments:

  1. I like the Charlie Brown Christmas trees too, although my kids demand a little more perfection. :) We go the live route and look for symmetry. It takes a while!

    ReplyDelete
  2. A Small Tree ,Real. White lights and used to be Christmasville my in House..but have cut back,,Its so festive though Coming over Lucy for Coffee and to check out your New Table..Sean is the Best..

    ReplyDelete
  3. Symmetry is hard, Elizabeth! It's nice one you can put the out-of-whack side facing against the wall.

    Susan, I have a soft spot for Sean myself! We have both kinds of lights in our house. Colored on the tree and white on the mantel. I still need to pull out all the decorations!

    ReplyDelete
  4. We have a fake tree pre ite one. I love it but would stil love to have a Pink tree or even a purple one!

    ReplyDelete
  5. We have a fake prelit tree now. I've fake trees since my son first when into the Army 15 years ago. We could usually count on him for Thanksgiving weekend, but we were never sure if he could get home for Christmas so we would do it all Thanksgiving weekend and keeping a live tree presentable for a month in a heated house in Connecticut is just beyond me. Now I wouldn't give it up. I have some great scented tarts and I'll get some live greens for the house. It's so much easier. Must be my age showing. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  6. We do a big ol' fake tree with white lights these days. Daddy says the bigger the better. However, if it were up to Mommy (the one who puts it all up), it would be a Charlie Brown sized one with colored lights, a paper chain, strung popcorn and all! Lots of heart!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hold true, Lucy. I don't think Sean would go for a fake tree either.

    I do two trees - an artificial in the living room that gets the nice matching ornaments and a fresh cut in the family room and gets all the "real" ones. Yes, we actually cut a live tree but it's on a Christmas tree farm so that's kind of its destiny (rather like the turkey we had on Thanksgiving).

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love real trees and the "piney" smell. With 8 cats, though, I don't do much in the way of Christmas decorations...they offer far too much temptation to "the critters."

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have a fake. Gram would be disappointed I'm sure. I let the kids pick the lights last year, they picked colored, so we'll go with that. I prefer white.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Knitspun, I know people who have trees in every room, so I say go out and get that purple tree!

    Mare, I have a fake tree, too. We made the switch a few years ago, and I really don't miss the real tree--too much. I miss the scent, but the trees here don't seem to have as much scent as those in New England. Candle tarts are great, aren't they?

    LOL, Kristine. Popcorn garland is so fun! I'd take a tree with heart any day.

    Linda, Christmas tree farms need to make a living! My favorite ornaments are the kitschy ones--and the handmade ones too!

    LOL, Mary! Ornaments are definitely seen as toys by cats. And don't even think about tinsel!!

    Katie, love that you let the kids pick the lights! And I think Gram would be okay with our choice of fake tree. Or at least that's what I tell myself. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Real tree with colored lights. The needles and the watering are a pain but the piney scent is worth it.:)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have a fake tree, prelit. I love that I can leave it up as long as I want. I do like to add something to bring that pine scent to my home. I have some multi-color lights. But I like blue and white lights the best.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Lucy,

    So far, I've avoided talking about the Denison family Christmas. Needless to say my mother, May goes whole hog--she believes there should be a tree in every room and a turkey in every oven. Someday, I'll share those stories with my biographer, but I can't face them yet.

    Skye

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm trying to find one of those small ceramic trees with little presents that'll fit on my bookshelf.

    ReplyDelete
  15. We have a fake tree, from which I carefully unwound the horrible pre-lit lights. Then I put on my favorite, white lights, that will do the waterfall effect I love. Every fourth light waxes and wanes, in sequence. It's very beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  16. We have a fake tree, mostly because I'm irrationally paranoid about house fires (we live in a very old wood-framed house in a very dry part of the country ...).

    I'm a die-hard fan of colored lights ... that particular glow of multi-colored lights in a dark room, a bit of chill in the air, an almost reverent hush ... that's Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have a 3-ft artificial, which is ideal for an apartment. Much as I love the scent of pine, real ones are not that great for allergy sufferers. I prefer all-white lights for my tree, though multi-colored are okay so long as they don't blink, and most of my ornaments are handmade.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Kourtney, there's nothing like that pine smell. Sometimes I like standing at the tree lot at the local Kroger and just breathe. Ahhh.

    Luanne, I also love how long I can keep the tree up. And trust me, it gets longer and longer every year.

    LOL, Skye. We need details!

    Dru, I hope you find that little tree!

    Jan, that sounds lovely!

    Wendy, the fire hazard is a big concern! And you paint such a pretty picture of Christmas. Love it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. We take the kids out with the inlaws to cut down a tree at a tree farm every year (see Linda above LOL) and have a fresh cut tree. I TRY to make a tradition of using a small piece of the trunk of the cut down tree to make a homemade ornament each year but sometimes it doesn't quite turn out that way. I love picking up ornaments from special places we go together as a family. I have ornaments from our honeymoon, our disney cruise, trips to the zoo and other places too!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh, Jan, I want to find some waterfall lights. That sounds lovely. Lucy, I want to come over and run my fingers over....your table.

    Trees: The more the better! I grew up in Oregon, amidst towering primal forests as well as hundreds of miles of Christmas tree farms, so I can respectfully accept a cut tree, as big as we can find, which I know will be replaced in the earth. And we have other trees, too - smaller ones, artificial, one green, one white, one gold. Daughter took her pink one with her when she left. Lights: Colored AND white, all mixed in glorious confusion! Fresh pine ropes, the more the merrier--and a few fresh red roses tucked in, too, in tiny vases. Deck the halls!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I just do a village.it takes up a third of my livingroom.use to do a tree when my kids were small.always got one we could plant at there grandparents house in the country.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I have a fake with white lights tree. I just got tired of hearing my dad or husband curse the live tree as they put it up straight and safe. Not to mention my father's annual lecture on what a major fire hazard a live tree can be.

    ReplyDelete
  23. We have a fake tree, but it is beautiful! This year we have decorated it in blue and silver, white and blue lights and decorations. I love fake trees because the real ones make me sneeze! Happy Holidays everyone!

    ReplyDelete