Are you a diehard real Christmas tree fan who couldn’t think of anything other than the scent of pine wafting through the house, or do you come from the artificial camp, preferring to hunt down your tree in the basement or attic? Either way, there are pros and cons for both. Here’s what we’re thinking in the weeks before Christmas.
There’s nothing quite like a wintertime hike with hot chocolate and a picnic lunch as you and yours go out to find the perfect Christmas tree. Christmas tree permits are free from the U.S. Forest Service office, and all you need is a saw and some rope to tie it to the top of the car. Making memories is what Christmas tree hunting is all about, but it’s not accessible to everyone. If the hike, the hauling, and the sawing are not for you, you can still search out the prettiest tree in a local tree lot.
Live trees bring the outdoors inside for a season. No artificial tree can smell, look, or feel like a natural tree, and natural trees are steeped with tradition. Their asymmetrical shape leaves openings for ornaments, and each tree is unique. However they require special care. Be ready to water them every day, and even with frequent watering, they are bound to dry out simply because they are no longer living. This means that you will see lots of dropped needles before the New Year. You’ll also want to have a plan for disposing of the tree. ZooMontana recycles Christmas trees starting on the 26th, and there are several drop-off locations around Billings as well.
Artificial trees are always the perfect size and shape and need no care – just enough space to store it the other 11 months of the year, and a little vacuuming before you store it away. They require some assembly, but if you’ve seen a Christmas tree, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Often pre-lit, they make lighting a breeze, but their dense shape might make decorating a bit more of a challenge if you’ve got a large collection of ornaments. They won’t dry out, so there’s no problem decorating early and keeping the tree up till Valentine’s Day, you know, if that’s your thing.
No matter what you choose, natural or artificial, you will need to be cautious about fire. Be sure you use lights that are in new condition and in good working order. Don’t overload your outlets, and keep the tree away from fireplaces and candles.
Natural or artificial, we all know that it doesn’t really matter. Christmas isn’t in a tree. It’s in the joys of family and friends, in the pleasure of giving, and the magic of the season. Happy Holidays to you and yours, and let us know – what’s your choice, real or artificial?