For many years we had an annual pilgrimage to a local tree farm to pick out our Christmas tree. This was a ritual that even I - someone jaded at Christmas hoopla and commercialism - actually looked forward to enjoying, and our large family would brave even the worst elements to select and cut our own tree.
This year, however, my wife talked me into buying an artificial tree. Actually, it was more like "my wife went out and purchased an artificial tree," and I did not need to be convinced. I am pleasantly surprised at the quality and user-friendliness of this tree.
All told it took me seven minutes to assemble this tree, which was complete with a lighting system. With a natural tree I cannot think of a single facet of procurement and installation that did not take hours to complete, and I have many memories of hacking oversized trees to make them fit our house and itchy arms from pine needle pokes.
It seems to me that we paid $40-$50 the last few years for natural Christmas trees, so the $230 we paid for this tree will pay for itself in just a few years. Add to this the fact that there is no maintenance, and that the tree does not seem to interest our dogs, who in the past have shown great interest in the various smells associated with a natural tree. I recall the year one of our dogs went berserk and destroyed a tree and a bunch of ornaments, and I suspect that the neutral odors of an artificial tree will not provide scents that fire up the canines.
So goodbye, natural trees: we had many good memories, but I am getting too old to be tramping through mud and snow to chop one of you down.