December has finally rolled around, leaving us with 24 days until Christmas. I'm traveling on business close to the holiday, so I really only have 13 days left, including putting up the Christmas tree.
Some families have a wonderful tradition that takes them into the snowy Thanksgiving eve woods to cut down a live tree (think the Griswolds of Christmas Vacation fame); others, picking out the perfect live tree from a lot strung with lights and Christmas music playing over a tinny loudspeaker. My family's tradition involves fake Christmas trees.
My oldest brother has had asthma since he was a child, and seemed to be allergic to everything under the sun, including live Christmas trees. My mother finally broke down one year and decide to buy a plastic trees vs. listening to my brother sneeze and wheeze throughout the holiday season. I have to admit, once we covered the tree with ornaments and threw on a pile of tinsel, it looked pretty good. AND, we never had to water it, vacuum needles up from the carpet, or haul it out to the curb on New Year's Day. The tree decorating always took place shortly before Christmas, while we watched The Wizard of Oz (which only aired once around Christmas), and listened to my dad play Christmas music on his accordion.
The tradition of a fake tree has stuck with me all these years, and I can only think of one time I decided to go with a live tree, a decision I regretted well into January as I was pulling dead needles out of the carpet. I still have the family Nativity set, complete with paper mache Wise Men, angels, Joseph, Mary, and the Baby Jesus. My mom purchased it at the local dime store back in the late 1950's, and it still has the old price tags on the bottom (one of the Wise Men was $.10).