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Do you prefer a live or fake Christmas tree?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on December 16, 2005

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Photo of Lesley Ketzel

“I have used a fake Christmas tree for years, so I guess I prefer a fake one. But I’m thrilled when I go somewhere and someone has gone through the trouble to get a live one.”

Photo of Jena Hartman

“I have a fake one with the lights already on it. It saves time, but I hate it. I would prefer to have a live one.”

Photo of Harold Jenkins

“I prefer a live one. We have so many fake things in the world. Why not have a real Christmas tree?”

Photo of John Moppin

“I have a fake one, but I prefer a live one. It’s for the sake of simplicity. It only has three sections to put together. Then you just plug it in and it’s lit.”

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topflight 12 years, 6 months ago

duh duh duh, i am first. yeah, i got up just to say i am first. duh duh duh, yeah. beat you all. sounds just as stupid when you do it.

trinity 12 years, 6 months ago

wow, #3! big whoop...

i love a live tree and buy one every year from the jaycees here in my town-they make good use of the $. procrastinated a bit too long this year though, as my tree isn't much taller than i am! (i love the 10 footers, i have the ceiling to accomodate 'em).

what's with all the people who say they prefer a live tree, but use a fake one?? real trees are not that much trouble! sigh

jonas 12 years, 6 months ago

What business is it of yours?! Huh?!?!? HUH?!?!?!? Maybe I LIKE having a fake tree?!?!?!? Maybe I like having a fake CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! Ever think of that, you self-centered right-tilting liberal commie nazi blueblood pacifist masochist der strichthenhausen åé-á®å ç-áç»ææ¥á á ¤á »á '飲á á®ä°°!!!!!!!

That's it, If you're still here when I get back, you're in big trouble!!!!!!

/Goes for the axe

trinity 12 years, 6 months ago

dang-i sure hope ots never really approaches you, jonas. i think somebody would be in for a whoopin'!

breathe innnnnnnn, breathe out.... have a nice day :)

Fangorn 12 years, 6 months ago

Real. Noble pine or Fraser fir, if I can get one.

sweetpeagj 12 years, 6 months ago

I prefer a real one but without the kids around it isn't as fun to decorate it anymore. I am sure that next Christmas when my grandson is older we will start putting one up again.

neopolss 12 years, 6 months ago

Fake one, which we admire sitting around a fire, playing a round of pass-out.

italianprincess 12 years, 6 months ago

Before moving here we used to have a real tree each year, but I have put up a fake one since 97. I put the tree up so early ( day after Thanksgiving, and leave it up until the end of January ) that a real one would probably die

I'd rather not waste that much money on a tree when I can spend it on my boys. The tree looks beautiful, and does its purpose. Its all lit up, ornaments all over and it works for my little family.

Jclarkson 12 years, 6 months ago

Ultimately, I would prefer a real tree, to a fake tree. However, with the places where you can buy trees that have previously been cut, im skeptical. First, Im not sure where they were before being cut, plus how long ago were they cut? Real trees are fire hazards. As trees dry out from being cut down, they tend to make a mess, plus are more likely to catch fire.

Given that we live in Kansas, I can settle for a fake tree. They seem like the safest option. Although in my house, we aren't putting up a tree. My roomates and I haven't had the time, nor the need to go buy a tree and a bunch of decorations.

canyon_wren 12 years, 6 months ago

For over 30 years, we have gone out and cut a pinyon tree for Christmas. My daughter, who is 5'10" stretches her arm full length holding a bow saw by a tree and that's the right height to fit in my living room (about 81/2 feet). Our permits only cost $5--guess that sort of makes up for the many things we do without, out here in the West! This year there was fresh snow and it was hard to tell which trees had nice shapes.

Each year it gets harder to make myself put on all those old-style lights that have to be forced onto the branches, and seemingly millions of those foil icicles which I save each year. But the magic is worth it.

Some of those fake trees look pretty good now and they certainly are lots easier to work with. I might be tempted to have one on down the line.

redmorgan 12 years, 6 months ago

We get a live one every year. It's kind of a family tradition-take a nice drive out into the country to a Christmas tree farm, listen to Christmas music in the car, go stand out in the freezing cold until our faces are numb and pick out the perfect tree! But, they are beautiful, and I LOVE the way they smell!

redmorgan 12 years, 6 months ago

I agree with the original bob... you don't need to pay a lot for a live one. Ours is 7ft, very full, and we only paid $19.

Kookamooka 12 years, 6 months ago

We can't afford a real Christmas tree every year so we go with the fake kind. We also have a cat that loves to climb trees and kids who break out in rashes if they touch pine needles, soooo.. looks like "fake" trees aren't all that bad. For the live tree smell, I go to Pendleton's and buy preserved greens. I make a little table top tree and some center pieces and they smell great. Everybody's happy and we hold hands, light candles and sing acapella christmas jazz while swaying in time. It's REAAALLY SPEEEEECIAL.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 6 months ago

Canyon, I LOVE the smell of pinon lucky girl!

Well, If I went real, I would definately get a frasier fur. Those bushy scotch pines are, well...bushy. But, I don't go real, I go fake. I can butcher a deer but I just can't bring myself to cut down a perfectly healthy tree. Yes, I know that makes no sense whatsoever. And shouldn't they be called "real" and not "live"? After all, once you cut them down, aren't they no longer living? Or are they just merely on life support for a week or two? I don't begrudge anyone their real tree, just can't do it myself.

Now, one year when we were re-doing the floors and just had a baby, my hubby went and cut a cedar and hung it from the arbor on the deck. We put lights on it but didn't otherwise decorate it. It snowed that night and the tree was absolutely gorgeous. A cedar is a weed, right? We can cut a few of those. See, I told you it makes no sense!

beatrice 12 years, 6 months ago

Oh no, someone actually used the "Christmas" word in the newspaper!! The sky is falling!! LJW is clearly run by konservative kristians!! We liberals must now band together to stop such an atrocity!! We must all be outraged by such a horrible violation of all things proper and good!! To think, if asked of someone that doesn't celebrate Christmas, why, that person might have to say, "I'm sorry, but I don't celebrate Christmas." Oh the humanity!!

This year, no tree. We haven't even come close to settling in to the new digs yet, so a tree isn't high on our list of priorities. Otherwise, we usually get a small, Charlie Brown type real tree.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Terrific Kwanza, Wonderful Hanukkah, and may Zeus smile upon you this winter solstice -- Peace.

redmorgan 12 years, 6 months ago

Pinon is Spanish for pine. Are Pinon trees just a certain type of pine?

sunflower_sue 12 years, 6 months ago

Oh, just a thought. I was at the car wash the other day and someone was there with a christmas tree. Were they waxing it? Can someone clear this up for me?

sunflower_sue 12 years, 6 months ago

redmorgan, yes, a pinon is a specific kind of pine found in the American southwest. I highly recommend a trip to Taos or Santa Fe just to smell them. Albiet, they are a scrubby tree much like our cedars.

craigers 12 years, 6 months ago

Fake since it is economical. This year we bought a new fake tree and gave our old one away. Fake doesn't drop as many needles as the real ones do. However fake doesn't smell as good. Oh no, now I really don't know which one I prefer.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 6 months ago

har har redmorgan. Obviously they were hosing it down...but for what purpose? Was the tree bad?

canyon_wren 12 years, 6 months ago

Yes, pinyons are a kind of pine. Growing up in Wichita, we always bought a douglasfir--so their smell is most nostalgic for me, but the pinyons are good enough. We also get soft, fluffy ponderosa greens for decorating.

canyon_wren 12 years, 6 months ago

Pinon is the right way to spell it, but you need a "tilda" for that like in Spanish words--so most folks put a "y" in. (at least you can make a tilda with Microsoft Word--that's cool!).

When living near Columbia, Mo, one year, we cut a cedar from a field--they are so stickery they're almost impossible to decorate. Don't know if they're worth getting free!

Aiko 12 years, 6 months ago

I read in LJWorld that ALL Christmas trees after Christmas are to be placed at your nearest Roundabout!

Ariat15 12 years, 6 months ago

Kudos to all of you who do go to the trouble to get a real tree. Unfortunately, I'm terribly allergic to mold...something Christmas trees seem to harbor. So please don't criticize those who have to make do with fake trees.

badger 12 years, 6 months ago

I don't do the tree thing, as I have been an apartment dweller for the last several years and I've never really had the room to do a full-sized tree without relocating a bunch of stuff.

However, this year I finally had an appropriate mantel and staircase to decorate with fresh pine greens, and my house smells (because I had a fire in the fireplace last week) a little smoky and a little piney and a little like the fresh bread from the breadmaker.

It's a good world.

momof4 12 years, 6 months ago

I'd like to go for the "artificial" not fake, bright purple aluminum atrocity I saw in a store window on Mass. street, but, alas, I can't afford it. I'll have to stay with my fake green boxed tree that I've pulled from the basement for the past 15 years.

Jeff Goodrick 12 years, 6 months ago

The Boys and I have used a Dodge truck automatic transmission housing as a christmas tree for years. Paint it green and string lights on it. The X-wife calls it the redneck tree. After Christmas it goes in the alum. pile and gets sent to salvage and we make $20 bucks.

Aiko 12 years, 6 months ago

No tree for me. Just a pole in the center of the room. It is a Festivas for the rest fo us.

acg 12 years, 6 months ago

Way off topic here, is it just me or has the JW neglected to publish anything re: our esteemed Commissioner McElheney and his wife both being arrested the other night on domestic disturbance charges? I've been looking thru the stories over the last week and haven't found a peep. Now why is it that the Topeka Cap. Journal and the KC Star both deem this news but the LJW does not? Oh and Christmas trees? Bah Humbug! I'm offended that the JWorld called them Christmas trees and not holiday trees. No tree for me. This year I'm erecting a Festivus Pole!! HAPPY FESTIVUS EVERYONE!!

acg 12 years, 6 months ago

LOL Aiko great minds think alike. You should come over and we could festivus together. Air some grievanaces, wrestle, you know the drill. :)

bankboy119 12 years, 6 months ago

acg it was posted awhile ago...I don't remember exactly when though.

Aiko 12 years, 6 months ago

No cover charge if your name is Bob and you drink for free.

Kathleen Christian 12 years, 6 months ago

The last real tree I have dried out 3-days after I put it up. I cleaned up a half of bucket of needles. That is when I went out and bought my fake one that looks very real (fooled my brother-in-law an advid real tree lover). It too is a lot of work, putting each individual branch in but it look great and I don't have to worry about watering it, or it catching fire, or disposing of it. Christmas is not about whether a tree is real or not. It's about friendship, love and kindness and giving. And the blessed Jesus who created this day for us to share. Merry Christmas

badger 12 years, 6 months ago

acg, there have been a couple of articles about it, just not really on the front page of the site.

oldfashiongirl 12 years, 6 months ago


" Live" tree can come in several ways. Years ago my daughter had me go to our woods and saw down a maple tree about 1-1/2" at the base and had several brances. I would spray paint it silver and she would put white lights, clear baubles on it and would put just a lot of the little red apple ornaments on it. It was just as "live" as any fir or cedar one. It was just beautiful and didn't cost a cent.

I nearly lost my religion trying to put up live fir trees, get them settled in the holder and getting them straight. I gave up and have used fake trees for years. I get so tired decorating it that I only have lights on it at the moment. There are so many church activities, plays, contatas and the like that I haven't had time to do it or the energy. If I didn't have anemia, I could do better.

Gotta get my stuff in order. Bye

enochville 12 years, 6 months ago

When I worked in customer service I always wished people "Happy Holidays". But, now as a consumer, I have mixed feelings about how some people get all up in arms if someone wishes someone else, "A Merry Christmas". If I went to a Jewish section of New York or Israel, or even stayed here and someone wished me "Happy Hanakkuh" I would not be offended. If I were here or anywhere else in the world and someone wished me "Happy Ramadan" I would be happy that they were nice to me. I recognize that those sayings come out of a pure heart and a hope for good will.

I know we should be sensitive to the feelings of others, and I don't want to offend. But, how many people really get upset by being wished, "Merry Christmas". It seems like some small anti-Christian fringe group decided to make a lot of hoopla about it.

Even "Good bye" has religious origins in "God by" which is short for God be with you. I don't want to become like France where one cannot show any religious practices publicly. I agree there should be a separation between church and state, but I don't agree that one cannot do things in public that are religious in nature.

In closing, allow me to wish you all a very, Merry Christmas!

samsnewplace 12 years, 6 months ago

I love the smell of a real tree, but we usually have a fake one.

Peaty Romano 12 years, 6 months ago

We make it a family event to go and cut down a real tree. I've never had a fake one myself, but my wife has when she was growing up. We have young kids, maybe when they are out of the house we'll get a fake one but for now it's worth the effort to have a real one.

acg 12 years, 6 months ago

The last real tree we had was when I was living in Delaware in 1992. Me, my sister and a friend roomed together. My sister and our friend went and picked out the tree, brought it back to our apt., we set it up and decorated it. Two days later, we noticed lots of spiders in our house. Had the apt. mgr. send an exterminator. He found a spider nest buried deep in the middle of our tree. They had to take it out, with all of the decorations because they had to get it out quickly, and then they had to exterminate the entire building twice to hopefully kill all of the spiders that had gotten loose. To this day I can't handle real Christmas trees or spiders.

beatrice 12 years, 6 months ago

enochville: In case you missed it, I was being silly and sarcastic above. My point is that I actually agree with you that there are some non-Christians who seem a tad overzealous in their call for striking the word "Christmas" from public usage.

However, and I mean no disrespect and I'm not trying to pick on Christians, but I would also suggest that there is a small bunch of Christians who downright insist that everyone should call the holiday season "Christmas," and they act offended if someone is more inclusive in their approach by saying "Happy Holidays." I've seen it happen on this board, and it applies to the people who complained about President Bush's holiday card. I think it is okay to remember that for many non-Christians it is just that, a Holiday, not a Holy day. Saying "Happy Holiday" shouldn't be considered an insult to Christians, just as saying "Merry Christmas" shouldn't be taken as an insult to non-Christians.

As far as I am concerned, what it really boils down to is showing respect for others, and not just others who are just like us. With that, I would like to say "Merry Christmas to you and yours, enochville." Peace.

beatrice 12 years, 6 months ago

Aiko: My name may not be Bob, but it does start with a "B." Will that at least get me in the door sans cover charge? I'll pay for my own drinks. Heck, I'll even buy a Bob or two a beer or two.

Aiko 12 years, 6 months ago

Beatrice, of course you get in free and drink free as well. Just be prepared for wrestling and feats of strength! Bob, looking forward to the special treats... Merry Festivus!

Laura Wilson 12 years, 6 months ago

Until last year I always had a real tree and could only have it up for about two weeks, had to deal with my allergies worsening (and hives breaking out if I scraped myself on the needles), the cats being attracted to it, the inevitable problem of getting it to stand up straight (and not fall over, especially with cats trying to climb it), and then the needles to vaccum for the rest of the year. I love them but I finally caved in and bought a fake one last year because they look pretty close to real, especially once decorated.

Now I can have it up the whole holiday season, it doesn't fall over, I'm not allergic to it, and the cats ignore it.

Aiko 12 years, 6 months ago

Take a Benedryl and all of you will be fine.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 6 months ago

Aiko - I love poles! Can I come too? Maybe Beatrice and I can lead the singing!

I love real trees - nothing like the smell. But I haven't had one for a long time. I had an artificial one when my kids were young. I would put it up at Christmas, then leave it up until Easter. We would decorate it with Christmas stuff, then snowflakes, then valentines, then easter eggs. It was kind of fun.

ms_canada 12 years, 6 months ago

We have a very nice artificial tree, thank you. I am like Sue, I just hate to see trees cut down. I know, I know, they are cut down whether I buy one or not. Well, I just prefer to spend my money or something else. my tree looks very nice and is so easy to put up. I have more important things to do at Christmas time. Like making pudding and fruitcake and buns, buns, buns. But this year I am not putting a tree up as we are going away to our daughters for the holidays and I do believe that she usually has a live or should I say on life support tree.

Janet Lowther 12 years, 6 months ago

Definitely fake. My family has had fake trees every year but one since about 1960, when they associated my having bronchitis every Christmas with the tree.

I got bronchitis when we tried having a live tree once, confirming the association.

Whatever they use to make fake greenery smell piney is even worse: It will bring on an asthma attack in a matter of minutes.

enochville 12 years, 6 months ago

Beatrice: I could tell that you were being "silly" due to your exaggeration. But, your comments reminded me of the those who hold the real opinion and take offense easily. And you correctly pointed out that there are those who take offense about excluding the word Christmas.

A wise 19th century man once said, "he that takes offense, when none was intended is a fool, and he that takes offense, when offense was intended is a bigger fool".

I agree that it is all about respect and inclusion. My previous "Merry Christmas" was a bit defiant and I don't want to use that greeting that way. So, let me say, in a very sincere way, that I hope all of you and your families have a wonderful, joyfilled holiday season.

Laura Wilson 12 years, 6 months ago

To the person suggesting benadryl for allergies, yeah, that's great, my boss would really appreciate me sleeping through the day. Benadryl knocks me out. I take allergy medicine 365 days a year--having a real tree, which I did for 38 years of my life, only adds to everything else I'm allergic to so why give myself that extra problem? (And before anyone mentions that I said I have cats, which I do, I'm also NOT allergic to them and have been tested.)

In the end, it's really each person/family's decision. Everyone has valid reasons for their choice in tree or no tree at all.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 6 months ago

We got a really live one from Strawberry Hill this year. Our first time actually cutting down a tree, and from now on, that's what we will do. Oh... the smell. Even better than a live tree from a grocery store parking lot. While I'm at work, my cats have a good time tearing it up. They now have green, spiney poop.

beatrice 12 years, 6 months ago

enoch: love the quote!

Aiko: I will be there, and will demonstrate the incredible strength in my feet!

Aiko 12 years, 6 months ago

Beatrice, I am honestly a little scared now after the "foot" comment. What the hell, it's Christmas. Bring the feet!

Linda Endicott 12 years, 6 months ago

When I was a kid, we always had a real tree, and I loved the smell and the feel of the branches...but, back then fake trees were really expensive, or we probably would have had one...

When I got to be an adult with my own place, and watched the branches dry out way too quickly and my nice glass ornaments fall on the floor and break because a branch broke, I got a fake tree. I've had a fake one ever least the price you pay for a fake tree lasts several don't have to shell it out every year...and if I want that real tree smell, I can just buy sprigs and put them around my apartment...

A real tree doesn't last long enough, is messy, and really is a fire hazard...though I hope you all aren't leaving the lights going on those fake trees overnight...never leave Christmas lights on when you aren't there, or are asleep...that's a fire hazard, too...

beatrice 12 years, 6 months ago

My feets of strength are on their way. However, Gootsie, might I suggest a different singing partner. Me singing -- think Rosanne Barr doing the National Anthem, but not as good! Might I recommend avlkmprtysprqrz. She can do it.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 6 months ago

Darn, and I was going to lip sync. I sound like William Shatner.

rdramaglia 12 years, 6 months ago

I'm surprised that after 68 comments no one has mentioned buying a live tree and then planting it in the yard after Christmas...that's what my family alwas did when I was growing up.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 6 months ago

couple of years when I was a teengnome, we had such trees growing on our own five acres, we'd cut one bring indoors, then about the jan 1st, plant it again, worked nice.
love the scent! there is nothing like having a real tree for Christmas. strawberryhill farm really rocks, they're nice folks!

AIKO, I ain't no Bob, and couldn't play one on TV...not guess don't get in for free...females get in free...sexist pig!


beatrice 12 years, 6 months ago

Gootsie, if you are going to lip sync then count me in! I'll gladly be the Manilli to your Vanilli, the Ashley to your Simpson, the Ma- to your -donna, the Spice to your Girl, the ... well, I guess you get my point.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 6 months ago

TOB, It's all about carbon sequestration for me:)

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