Rebecca Haines: The annual Christmas tree war

Rebecca Haines

Two years ago when we got married, I thought my husband and I would never disagree about anything.

That’s actually a lie -- I know two people can never see eye-to-eye on absolutely everything. But I never in my life would think my husband, Chris, and I would fight over a Christmas tree every year.

While my eyes still glittered with newlywed bliss, I let him talk me into getting a plastic tree for our apartment in Joplin, Mo. At the time, I thought we’d get a real tree the following year. Well, we weren’t in Tulsa long enough to celebrate Christmas. But here we are, for our second Christmas in Kansas City, Mo., and we put up that darn fake tree again.

The first thing we discussed was the timing of the tree. His tradition is that on the weekend following Thanksgiving, the lady of the house decorates the Christmas tree while the kids pitch in here and there.

My tradition is that the family enjoys the Thanksgiving holiday as Thanksgiving. Then, perhaps after a couple weeks into December, we go on a tree hunt. A real tree. And anyone who wants to help with the process of finding, cutting down and transporting the tree is more than welcome.

I think the fact that Chris is so bent on having a plastic tree is the main reason for our annual battle. As soon as we set up that phony tree, it’s cute and decorated with care, but I still scowl at it.

In all fairness, Chris’ argument of pro-fake tree is this: “it doesn’t stick you when you decorate it; it does not shed needles; the light system is built in; it just seems to be less of a hassle.”

To me, “convenient” can sometimes translate into “lazy.” Nevertheless, someday I will get my real Christmas tree. One that will send its pine-smelling splendor through our home. One that will leave its toe-poking needles in my carpet for weeks. One that will eventually turn brown and die, and probably end up in some dumpster somewhere and not in my precious storage space.

For now, it is still playful banter … but for the sake of our marriage in years to come, we'd better get a real Christmas tree. Otherwise, until death due us part will become a goal.

Rebecca Haines is a columnist for The Carthage Press in Carthage, Mo.