The Infamous Year of Three Trees

treeMy husband and I moved out to Arizona a while back so I could go to grad school at ASU. A couple years later, we had our first child, and a year after that, bought our first house.  I am very enthusiastic about Christmas, so that first year (about 7ish years ago) we got an upstairs tree (a smallish one) for the loft and a full size for the family room. Christmas spirit everywhere. I had a house, a family, and was ready to start my own traditions. I was so excited, I was a menace.

I did not understand why so many people in Arizona have artificial trees. I couldn’t see any fun at all in pulling an artificial tree out of a box in the garage. No matter how nice they were, the trees didn’t feel right, didn’t smell like Christmas.  Plus, I had warm childhood memories of hunting through Christmas tree lots for the perfect tree.

We got our trees, the big and the mini, Thanksgiving weekend. Two weeks later, both were so dry they could only be good for kindling. Likewise, I started seeing articles and news reports about what a fire hazard Christmas trees are out here where it’s so dang dry in the winter. I saw a very sobering YouTube video showing how fast a whole house could catch from a Christmas tree, and soon I refused to turn the lights on the trees on at all.  They sat there—dry, decorated sticks. Needles were everywhere—fantastic for our toddler. We finally decided to take down our ornaments and lights and drag the kindling into the back yard, before Christmas. My good friend and neighbor didn’t try to mask her laughing, and to this day, won’t let me live it down.

We bought a third tree to fill the depressing hole in our living room. Trees are inexpensive out here (a fraction of what they are back east!) and we couldn’t afford an artificial one that year. Decorating for the third time was not as much fun as you’d think. The mocking from my mommy friends was less so.

In the years since, we’ve had a gorgeous artificial tree. I love it. We got it at Costco. It came in a big box. The branches have pre-strung lights so bright you could probably see them from space.  But best of all, the tree won’t burn my house down, which fills me with all kinds of Christmas spirit. 

(Update: My husband just read this post and he said I left out the part where he tried to save the big tree. One night he took off all the ornaments, left the lights, dragged the tree to the garage, and sawed off a little more of the trunk so that the tree could get more water. Then brought it back in, put it up, and put the ornaments on. He tells me now he did it when our daughter and I were sleeping. That, right there, is why I married him.)

Posted on December 14, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Aw, that’s so sweet!!

    I don’t think I could ever have a live tree (if I were ever tempted to put up a tree and hope it could withstand the cat’s attentions) after seeing one burn when I was in college. I never saw something burn so that wasn’t doused in accelerant. It’s a scary thing. If I ever do have a tree, it’ll be artificial and I’ll just have to get some candles or something for that Christmasy smell.

  2. I know!!! It is SHOCKING how fast they go up. Can you imagine one lit with real candles!?

  3. Lol, we did the live tree thing a couple of times but I really don’t think it matters where you live…they get dried out and become nothing but kindling! We then had a bunch of artificial trees, two of which I was seriously in love with but one year, when I was busy with school and work issues, my little sister talked my mom into getting rid of all of the “old” artificial trees we had and getting a new and allegedly improved tree….yeah it’s been a huge failure and now we have what I lovingly refer to as an “artificial Charlie Brown” tree.

    Your husband is definitely a keeper:)

  4. we have used the same artificial tree for the last 10 years. Got it at AC Moore for half price. You have to put on each branch individually and it doesn’t come with lights, but I love it. It looks so real and the kids always help put it up 🙂

    • Ours has tiers to assemble, while plugging in lights as you go up. My preference would be to string the lights ourselves, like yours–when I said you could prob see the tree from space, I meant it! And this year, I think the kids did help my husband put it up. It’ll be a nice tradition. 🙂

  5. Michelle Bledsoe

    How sweet of your husband. I have a very irrational fear of fire and I hate to clean up the needles so that is why I have always had an artificial tree.
    Merry Christmas

  6. I’m a clean freak so even though I grew up having real trees I love my artificial tree! (And I’m an East Coaster). I’m definitely in the minority with having a fake tree on this coast, but man I love it. No clean up and the pre-lit tree goes back in the box until next year! Your tree story is hilarious!! And what a great hubby, trying to save that tree 🙂

    • Yeah, my experience out East was that real trees were the norm. Here it’s infrequent to see the real tree on top of a car going home from a lot. And yeah, the DH deserves a big kiss for that one!

  7. We have a cute tree that is pre-lit. It’s so pretty and the lights alternate by itself. It’s very easy to care for. We don’t have to worry about falling needles and how to dispose of it after. Though I’ve seen some real live Christmas tree and those are also beautiful.

    • Live trees are gorgeous… and maybe back east I’d be tempted. I wish my artificial tree could alternate lights. We do put a blinking strand on too… you know, just in case the other lights (visible from space) aren’t enough. LOL

  8. The year we got two kittens was it for me; I’ve never seen a tree go down before, with a lot of help from our new pets. Broken decorations, lights pulled, so we decided that we would after Christmas purchase an artificial tree.

  9. I have a 2 foot tree and am proud of it and the fact that my cat can not climb it! Its very little and very cute and fits in perfectly since its a small one bedroom apartment too. While I do miss a big tree like we always had while I was growing up. My cat has never seen one and I think that probably for the best.

    And aww, what a great guy to try and save your tree for you,.

  10. Sounds perfect and beautiful. And based on what @Diane had to say, very smart too!

  11. That’s the sweetest story! We all need husbands like that..

  12. aw shucks… the post script is what makes it so great… 🙂

  13. Took him seven years to tell me. I can imagine him doing the whole thing. 🙂

  14. OMG, great story!! I can so see your hubby doing that to save the tree! Whatn a doll!
    I’m terribly allergic to real trees, so my whole life we’ve done the artificial thing…..which now IS so much easier with the prelighted trees. But some of them look SO freakin’ REAL!!

  15. An artificial tree is much better if you get a Fresh Balsam wallflower from Bath & Body Works and plug it in somewhere near the tree. It really does make the whole room smell like a fresh tree.

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