Whether you are a real is the only way to go kind of holiday soul or you have decided that fake trees are the better option around the holidays, most people have a pretty solid stance on this topic and feel fairly strongly about it one way or the other.

Let’s be honest, the whole real tree experience is pretty magical, right? I mean, the whole thing is straight out of the classic Christmas movies that most of us grew up with. Skipping through a giant field of beautiful trees with your family, choosing the absolutely perfect one, cutting it down yourself, taking pictures in front of said tree, wrapping it on top of your car, and driving it homeall while singing Christmas carols and sipping hot chocolate in your matching red and black plaid scarves. And let’s not forget the tranquil feeling you get from the fresh pine smell. Real trees are reminiscent of past holidays with family and Christmastimes from the good ole days and chock-full of tradition.

But let’s give some credit to the fake trees that have made their way into many homes at Christmas.

Fake trees have come a long way, and there are tons of different sizes, shapes, and types of trees. Most fake trees are super convenient nowthey come in a few pieces that all snap together and Voila! Christmas town in your living room. Trees can come pre-lit and there are now trees that rotate (sorry, but no more hiding those ugly ornaments in the back) and change color with remote controls. Switching your lights from color to white on demand can change the ambiance of your room in a split second. You can re-use your fake tree for years and years without ever having to worry about going out and finding another one.

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So even though there are some clear pros and cons in the ongoing fake versus real tree debate, I was one in the minority who didn’t have a strong feeling either way.

Going back to my childhood, we had a real tree for many years, but after a few real allergy and asthma blowouts, the real trees had to go. Since then, I’ve always had a fake tree and thought nothing of it. When Chris and I got married, we continued with the fake tree solely for convenience. We traveled from Virginia to Buffalo for the holidays and didn’t want to come home to a dead tree (or a burned-down house), so we opted for a reasonably priced faker.

The first time I had real tree envy was last Christmas and it was strong. I hadn’t had that magical experience everyone else seemed to have cutting down their trees.

So this year, when we moved into our suburban-y, cottage-y new home, I really wanted a real tree to complete my rustic feels. So off we went to the tree cutting farm.

The whole trip was a dose of my realityflipping from boys punching each other, to crying, to falling over in the mud, and the whining, “Mom, I’m SO tired . . . ”

“. . . Gavin, it’s been four minutes.”

We finally found our tree and cut it down, got it on the car, and away we went. We followed the owner’s instructions, got it set up, and then basked in its glory. Over the next few days is when things got rough.

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What do you mean I’m supposed to leave it outside for a few days? What do you mean there are bugs in them? (Common sense would tell me that bugs are in trees, but bugs were not part of the magical, fairy-tale tree fantasy.) We already put the lights and ornaments on—TWICE! And I may have re-arranged the ornaments a few more times after that when no one was looking.

Fast forward to me screeching on a daily basis because, yet again, my poor angel is mummified in spider webs.

Every day that we would kill a spider and clean out the webs, sure enough, the very next day was another one, all angry because we killed his pal. I swear the webs became worse by the day as if they were out for our blood. Day after day . . . kill the spider, clean the web. Where are they coming from?!?! I searched every day trying to find out, but only ever found one lone spider on his solo mission to destroy my Christmas. So today, at the end of my rope, I grabbed the Shop-Vac, hung my head in shame, and vacuumed our Christmas tree.

Next year, I will hang a pine-scented air freshener on my rotating, color-changing, gloriously spider-free fake tree and call it a Christmas.

Sheri Courteau

My name is Sheri Courteau and I'm a mom to three busy boys. I am a high school counselor who enjoys dry humor, sarcasm, and coffee. My husband and I are complete opposites who eventually balance each other out. My boys range from the creative, artistic, and terrifyingly smart, to the middle sweet, loving, kind, would give you the shirt off his back, to the youngest comedian, actor, singer showboat that brings a smile to every person he meets.  In my spare time, I enjoy chatting with friends over dry red wine, watching Seinfeld reruns, visiting any body of water with my family (seriously, water can be so cathartic), and I'm beginning to realize my enjoyment of witty journaling.