What Price For a Christmas Tree?

Zannini Christmas Tree 2017Christmas trees have come a long way since I was a kid. In the 50s and 60s most everyone got a real Christmas tree. Only the super posh (and rich) got the fake tree. During the 60s there was also a rage for the silver metallic trees. Back then I thought they were the epitome of gaudy decadence, but I’ve since come to look at them with nostalgic fondness.

For years I avoided the fake trees purely because I loved the smell of real trees. Once I moved to the country though I felt I had enough ‘real’ in my life. That and I wasn’t crazy about taking the life of a tree purely for decoration.

On the other hand, tree growers grow them specifically to be cut, so I guess it’s a moot point. Then there are the Federal Parks that sell you a permit to cut your own tree (at certain parks only). It gets complicated what with supply and demand. Wildlife gets no say in whether you cut down their habitat.

Three years ago I bought a fake tree (after Christmas) but I have never put it up. A couple of weeks after I bought it, my neighbor who was downsizing and moving to a smaller house, tossed out his magnificent fake tree in our community trash box. I rescued it.

There were a couple of lights that weren’t working and maybe that’s why he tossed it, but it didn’t matter because I wanted the option of using my own lights. I carefully snipped off each light from the tree.

It’s one of the nicest fake trees I’ve ever seen. I imagine my neighbor spent a bundle for it new. The tree I bought is still in the attic, untouched by Christmas. I meant to offer it to my niece while she was here but I forgot.

Over the years, we’ve spent anywhere from $7 to $25 per tree–the price tag going up incrementally every year for forty years. My free tree, while bereft of natural pine scent is still my favorite. I go through great pains to gather each level of branches in its own size grouping so it’s easy to find and reassemble the next year.

ZanniniChristmas 2017

Ornaments too are carefully preserved in tissue paper and bubble wrap. We have ornaments dating back to 1976. They’re too fragile to put out anymore but I keep them anyway because they give me such fond memories.

This year Greg helped me put up the tree. It’s always a relief to have your own personal elf helper. Those trees get heavier every year! LOL!

What about you? Fake or real? Flocked or natural? What are natural trees going for this year? –the big 6 foot+ ones, not the little ones.

Have you decorated yet? I hope you’ll post a picture of your tree either on your blog or Facebook. I love to see how people decorate their trees.

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All original content copyrighted by Maria Zannini 2016 - 2018.


    • I was a store display artist for many years. Every Christmas it was our job to come up with new ways to dress trees.

      We did all colors of trees that we normally used for the young adult departments. What I loved about those trees was that you almost didn’t have to add any decorations at all. The color was enough to make it festive.

      Please post your tree online when you get it up. I’d love to see it!

  1. It varies from year to year – sometimes we put up a bigger fake tree and hang ornaments on it, other times we have a small fake purple tree that holds less ornaments. There are times when we put up a fake palm tree that has lights but no ornaments. We kind of let our moods dictate what we do. 🙂

  2. Decorating a real tree was about the only thing, besides giving/receiving cards then the cooking and eating of the meal, that really made me anticipate and enjoy Christmas Maria.

    Years went by and too many deaths at the holidays of family members and friends dimmed that anticipation for me and the hassle of travel finished off the actual enjoyment for sure.

    We no longer decorate house or tree since the fires, the first Christmas in 2011 we did so on behalf of keeping things going for Mom and after that I was not able physically and Karl does not have the time.

    I bet your home, inside especially, is gorgeous and happy to hear you have such sentimental ornaments that hold fond memories of Christmas past.

    • Jackie: There’s nothing harder than losing loved ones near the holidays. Even when years pass by, it remains a dark reminder.

      I’m not a big decorator but I do love to trim the tree mostly because so many of the ornaments have sentimental value.

  3. Stacy McKitrick

    I think the last time we had a real tree was the first year we were married: 1979. Since then it’s been fake all the way. And now it’s pre-lit. No one wants to help me, so I make it easier. But this year I don’t feel like lugging the tree from the basement. Maybe I will when I return from our cruise. I’ve got people coming over on the 23rd, so that may motivate me a little. 🙂

  4. I grew up with fake trees, including one of those silver tin foil trees you mentioned. My mom got most of them from the curbside when neighbors threw theirs out, or at rummage sales. Also, Santa always brought the tree so it didn’t appear until Christmas morning.

    My guy grew up with real trees, and can’t stand the fake ones, so I defer to him. We do chop up and season the tree after the holidays for use as mulch and firewood, so at least it’s recycled. I’ve never really loved the real tree, as they’re almost always sticky with resin, dirty and the needles create a mess, but it’s one of those compromises you make in a relationship. Also, I make him clean it up after the holidays. 🙂

    We got ours this year at a family-owned farm; it cost $55.00. Since the money goes to support our local farmers I feel that’s a plus, too.

    I have 36 years of decorations made by the kids, made by me and made or gifted to us by our friends. About half our ornaments are handmade, I think. It makes for a wonderful tree of memories every year.

    • Lynn: I miss having a real tree, but the fake ones are so much more convenient. I always tell myself the next time I see a small tin foil tree at a garage sale I’m going to snap it up for old time’s sake. I’m sure I can find a spot for it.

      There’s a family Christmas tree farm not two miles from us. I’ve always wanted to go but I was afraid I’d be tempted to buy one.

      That’s nice of you to let your guy have his way. I guess they have to win every once in a while. 😀

    • Jenny: Greg said he was going to light some of the shrubbery and trees out front, but he hasn’t yet.

      I won’t decorate outside–that’s his domain. If he wants to do it, I’ll help, but stringing lights above my head isn’t my thing. 😀

  5. We had to go to fake a few years back… our daughter developed an allergy to the real trees (would break out in hives if she touched it). I, too, miss the smell of a real tree. We have one large one that we use inside (it was prelit, but the lights have all died… now I string my own lights). Bob also bought me a live Christmas tree this year (6 ft) and we planted it in the yard so I could decorate it as well (one of my favorite childhood memories was helping to decorate the outside tree). Even when nobody is coming home for Christmas, I tend to go all out decorating.

    • Judy:
      re: live tree
      That’s such a great idea! I am so tempted to buy a small live Christmas tree and plant it in the front yard, but I don’t think I have any room.

      If they do well in pots, I might be able to put it in a big pot as it gets bigger, but eventually it’ll have to get planted somewhere.

      You’ve inspired me to do some research. I might get my little tree after all. Thank you.

  6. We had real trees until several years after we were married and had kids and decided it was just easier to have an artificial one. Could put it up earlier and it wouldn’t shed, etc. Its fun to smell the pine off the trees when going into a place that sells the real deal so to speak. We aren’t doing a tree this year, but do have very few decorations up and lights on outside 🙂


  7. Friends of ours buy real trees but with their roots intact so that they can ‘free’ them in their garden when the festivities end. To me this is better/greener than buying ‘real’ ‘dead’ trees. But we have a small garden. So we go fake. It’s shabby now but the baubles bring it to life, and each bauble tells a story – many from America courtesy of my teacher exchange partner who for long enough sent them us as presents.

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