I read a newspaper story a some months back about the movement to boost the sales of real Christmas trees. I hadn’t known real trees were in need of boosting. I was shocked to learn that almost everybody but us (and everyone we know) has a fake one. 75-80 per cent is what the AP article cited.
Really? If you had asked me before reading that article, I would have said, OK, sure, I see the fake trees in stores and advertised in catalogs. I see how (for a fancy price) you can get one you have to get close to to tell it’s a fake, Some even come pre-decorated, to save you that tiresome chore.
But I would have said that, though a unfortunate tendency, it was limited to a benighted 15-20 percent of the population, the party of the Grinch, Scrooge before the ghostly visits.
So I’m shocked at having misjudged my fellow humans so, giving them more credit than they apparently deserve. But then I wouldn’t, as practically nobody did, have predicted the size of Trump’s following.
Sadly, given the size of the fake tree phenomenon, I can’t blame it on Trump supporters . Or even Republicans in general. There are clearly a lot of liberals among the fake tree fanciers. Go figure.
The artificial tree is in fact not just wrong, but diametrically opposed to the traditional concept. The whole idea is to get a piece of real nature in the house, with some of its orneriness, along with its mess, but also the smell. An artificial tree, no matter how artfully crafted, is still a fake. You might as well replace the traditional yule log blaze with a gas-fired imitation fireplace.
I have the same problem with the new good hamburger fakes. Even if it’s a great fake, the knowledge that it’s a fake ( compiled and obsessed over by chemists) is an essential part of the experience of it and, for me, changes everything. (Although I hear they are selling like hotcakes at Burger King.) (Are those real or fake hotcakes?)
I admit to being sensitive to the big push to replace our intelligence, such as it is, w ith computerized artificial intelligence.
I can hear the objection: what difference does it make when even so-called real trees have in recent decades been enhanced with cosmetic surgery, clipped to the classic shape so that the genuine ugly duckling tree of one’s youth (on which one might have taken pity) has become virtually extinct.
Last year we did the radical thing of going in search of a real and cosmetically unenhanced tree in the woods where trees hang out. We considered poaching one of the people’s trees held in trust for us by the National Seashore. But we ended cutting down a scraggly scrub pine growing on land owned by the power company. This required considerable courage because these local trees deviate completely from the traditional conical Christmas tree shape. What will the grandchildren think? And indeed, when installed in the traditional base, it resembled at best a distant and uncouth cousin of the symmetrical clone we would have bought at a local purveyor.
Some might claim that in lacking that traditional arrowhead shape it wasn’t in fact a Christmas tree. But it provided branches for hanging the usual decorations with their ancient family associations. And it had the essential element of being real. Arguably realer than the ones grown in Canada and trucked here, because not raised to the fate of becoming a Christmas decoration.
There was of course the savings of probably, given last year’s prices, 40 bucks.
And we were happy in the knowledge that we were helping the power company in its neverending battle to keep the forest from interfering with its wires.
Maybe this exhortation, with its implied scolding, is not deserved by those reading this column. The article I read didn’t give a breakdown state-by-state or region. Maybe the Cape, maybe the whole state, that beacon of liberalism and common sense, is an exception to the fake tree statistics. I’d like to think so.