My family just purchased our first artificial Christmas tree. I am not sure how I feel about it yet. I cannot imagine coming home to a pseudo tree in our living room or the lack of pine aroma from our usual Fraser Fir. I don’t know if I will be able to accept the fact that our main Christmas attraction is no longer one from a tree farm but the same as a million plastic pines in the U.S.
I promise I’m not bitter though.
I understand that my siblings and I are growing up and moving out. It’s not easy to pick out the perfect pine and spend the day deciding, sawing and transporting the perfect piece of Christmas decor for our home. And celebrating with those fresh doughnuts and hot apple cider is not healthy anyway, right?
Besides, just because our tree is fake does not mean we will have artificial presents to go with it or those cheap, plastic bulbs to hang from the dainty branches. But I do wonder if this new boxed tree will come with a side of superficial compliments.
I’m not bitter though.
I am sure it will be nice not to have to worry about watering our new Christmas tree. We will not have to vacuum fallen needles or drop it in our back fire pit until we can burn it in the spring. Maybe my mother will let me name it since the thing will never die and will stick around for who knows how long, like a set-in stain on your favorite Christmas sweater.
Maybe it is just a phase, a trial run. Maybe my mother will change her mind after reading this column and cancel the Amazon order. Or maybe we will be stuck with it for all future Christmases to come, and that does not have to be a bad thing.
Perhaps this new package of plastic pine will simply symbolize a new phase in our family. Within one year’s time, my oldest sibling will have graduated college, my other sibling is graduating high school, and I’ll be following along graduating in May. Our lives are changing, and, consequently, so is our traditional tree.
Like all of our transitions, our plastic pine will be whatever we make it: an elaborate decoration or a neglected prop purchased to follow social norms. We can choose to follow our family tradition of hanging our personal ornaments or scrap the ritual like the visit to the tree farm.
This last fall semester of my undergraduate career has left me somewhat sentimental and extra reflective (and clueless of post-grad plans, but let’s not talk about that). I’m going to miss the Harding lights and Dr. McLarty’s annual reading of “A Cup of Christmas Tea.” I’ll miss Cafsgiving and Java City’s holiday blend.
As I look back, I am thankful for the memories I have made, and I am excited for memories to come. I am entering my last semester at Harding, and I hope to make it a good one.
I might be a little sad, though.