Pining for Pine Trees: Real is the Way to Go

When you think of the holiday season, what stands out as a staple image? I encourage you to recall the Christmases of the past, the ones with tons of snow (before climate change became a thing) and your parents letting you eat cookies for breakfast, when you would practically fall over your siblings to see who could get downstairs the quickest and begin to tear open presents in a game that occurred just once a year. When you mull over these moments, what do you remember smelling in the wintry air? Pine. You smelled pine trees. This familiar scent is a hallmark of some of the most joyful days of my childhood, the Christmases when I received toys I had only dreamed of and spent all day with family. I hold true that every Christmas morning should be scattered with the needles of a real, true Christmas tree, chopped down from a farm and then displayed in your home, to really make it the special holiday it is.

A few weeks in advance to this day, we would always make a trip to the local tree farm, where my dad would pull my sister and I around in a sled, and after we spent a considerable amount of time debating on whether we wanted a skinny or fluffy tree, he would chop down the just-right one and we would all consume some too-hot hot apple cider. Nowadays, we go to a smaller farm with pre-cut trees. But listen, this place has cows, goats, chickens, and some farm cats. Farm cats! They also have the best gigantic chocolate chip cookies which are fair game to rival Dave’s. Everyone should get a chance to eat these cookies and have these quintessential holiday memories, all which come with the piney wonderfulness of a real, organic Christmas tree.

Honestly, fake trees are pure evil. Why contribute to insidious capitalism by purchasing a fake plastic tree from Target when you can support a local business and procure a homegrown, Christmas tree? Just thinking about a foil-covered metal-wired tree wears me out. They may look like the real thing, but fake trees are a stunning falsehood of Christmas tradition. Any sparkly silver, blue, white, pink, you-name-it colored plastic phony tree is blasphemous. It may quack like a duck, it may look like a duck, but it ain’t no duck.

If variety is what you seek, if you desire a unique tree, do not pursue it in the cold, unnervingly artificial aisles of your local Target or Walmart, instead go to a tree farm and find comfort in the multitude of types to fit your every need. (frustrated side note: when I Googled “types of Christmas trees”, Google’s shopping showed me fake trees. Sad.). The Norway spruce is a small, squat puffball of joy, while the tall, stately Nordmann fir promises to keep pine needles from falling on your floor. I am partial to the tall, minty-green blue spruce, while the Lodgepole pine is perfect if you desire a cookie-cutter stock-photo-perfect tree for your holiday needs. If you like ‘em sparkly and extravagant, don’t buy some cheesy blue-and-gold schemed pre-decked tree when you can have more Christmas fun and decorate your own with sentimental ornaments and some tinsel (actually don’t use tinsel, your pets can choke on it. This has been a PSA).

So why are some people still so obsessed with fake trees? Some claim that they’re more environmentally friendly. This is false. Think of the pollution released when these lumps of plastic are melted and assembled in factories. Do you want a smoggy Christmas, or a white Christmas? If you answered correctly, then you should go the natural route. Others may point out that fake trees are more clean and less work. While this may be true, would you rather be lazy and labelled as a loser for having a fake tree visible in your front window or truly embrace the holiday spirit and the work that comes with a real tree?

It is our duty to choose real trees over fake trees, to define this holiday season as one where we will not be lazy and drive to the nearest Walmart to get an obviously artificial tree (they don’t even look semi-realistic). I urge you to at least take a trip your local hardware store, or better yet, a local, family-owned farm, and pick out the perfect pine for you. Allow the joy, shedding needles, and downright Christmas-y vibe of a real tree into your home this holiday season.

– Chloe Zelch ’20

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