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Adlen Robinson: Do you prefer a fake or real tree?
Christmas tree

Does your family prefer a real Christmas tree or an artificial one? Some people I know are passionate about their feelings on this subject. One of my friends despises real trees because she said they are messy and it feels like you are just throwing money away. Other real-tree lovers say picking out a real tree is a family tradition and there is nothing like the scent of that pine wafting through the house during the holidays. 

For the first few years of our marriage, we got real trees. One year we had a small one up on a table because our oldest was a toddler and he didn’t seem to understand the word “no” when it came to playing with the ornaments. After a few years, I decided real trees were too expensive and we should invest in an artificial tree. Besides, the children were babies and toddlers and they didn’t know or care about the difference. As years passed, the older two began begging for a real tree and as children tend to do, they eventually wore us down. Off to the Christmas tree lot we went. 

After suffering severe sticker shock, we had to explain the cost to the kids and talk them down a few sizes as we settled on the perfect tree. It’s different setting up a real tree — there is the process of strapping the tree to your car, getting it into the house, putting it into the stand, and of course, making sure it is not tilted one way or the other. 

Of course, there is also the process of watering the tree and keeping it hydrated so it lasts until the big day. I do remember that glorious pine scent. Of course, you could just burn a pine-scented candle if you have an artificial tree. 

We still get a real tree, but a few years ago I also bought an artificial one for my home office. I had so many Santa Claus ornaments, I decided they needed their own tree. I love that tree. There are Santas of all sorts and they all have special memories to me. 

What are your views on white lights verses colorful lights? 

When we married, I decided we would always have a classic, Southern Living type tree — no colored lights or “tacky” ornaments. Even when the kids were old enough to care and began asking for colored lights, I held my white-lights ground. 

Then, one year I was at a Christmas party and some women were talking about how tacky colorful lights were and how their neighborhood had rules about not letting people hang colorful lights on the outside of their homes. I was stunned. They sounded so snobby about it, I immediately had a change of heart. I came home that night and announced to the family from now on we were not only going to have colorful lights on our tree, they were going to be the kind that blinked. Everybody cheered. Also, any handmade ornaments were most certainly going to be hung on the tree — right out front. 

We still have blinking colorful lights on our trees and there are plenty of homemade Christmas ornaments made by little hands from years ago. Those are probably my favorite ornaments. What are your thoughts on the real tree versus fake tree subject and are you on the white lights or colorful lights team? I love to hear from you. Happy decorating! 

South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at