I finally bought a Christmas tree! I don't love it! It's not pre-lit!
Here's what happened: I went on, I am not kidding, TWELVE tree-shopping trips. I couldn't find anything I liked as much as each tree cost. Nearly the whole family wanted colored lights (Elizabeth wanted white, and I was undecided), but I couldn't find any colored-pre-light trees I liked as much as the white-pre-lit trees. It was as if the fake tree industry thought that people who wanted colored lights would also want shiny, plasticky-looking, unrealistically-green trees, whereas people who wanted white lights would want their tree to look like a real tree. Or else I'd find a tree I liked, but the lights were weird: red, yellow, purple, and white lights, for example.
Also, it was making me super nervous that the lights were only guaranteed for 2 years: a fake tree only saves money over a real tree if I can use it for more than 5 years, and there were display trees that already had whole sections of lights out. My parents' pre-lit tree has had no trouble with the lights and it's been years---but for every story like that, there's another "THIS HAS BEEN A NIGHTMARE. A CHRISTMAS-LIGHT-THEMED NIGHTMARE" review on some website. And contacting customer service to see about getting lights replaced under warranty is not as easy as buying a new string of lights. (Let's see how I feel about this while I'm putting up the lights.)
So, I bought a $60 non-pre-lit tree that was on sale for $50. It's this one, from Target, and I see online it's on clearance for $42 with free shipping over $50, so if you find $8 more of stuff that qualifies for free shipping, you'll get the same tree I got, plus $8 more free stuff, without having to lug anything in and out of the store/car. Bitch.
That picture they have up of the tree---how do the "artists" who designed that photo hug their children with a clear conscience?
Don't they go home and feel like their dogs are looking at them reproachfully? The tree I brought home is a perfectly nice tree, and in fact looks MORE like a real tree----but the tree in that photo is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. There are NO branch gaps in that photo. It is perfectly filled in from stem to stern. Here is a picture of the actual tree:
And that's with Paul working for about an hour setting it up last night, making sure each branch was nicely splayed out to reduce gaps.
There is nothing wrong with branch gaps! I LIKE branch gaps! That is where the ORNAMENTS go! I wouldn't even WANT that tree in the first picture: each ornament would have to rest diagonally along the exterior surface of the cone, because there is no place for hanging DOWN as nature intended. But I still object on principle to them acting as if that's a photo of the tree I bought, because it obviously is not. The tree they photographed is ANOTHER TREE ENTIRELY. The branches CANNOT PHYSICALLY BE ARRANGED like the tree in their photo. Even if they took all the branches from the back of the tree and tied them to the front of the tree, they could not achieve that "photo" of the "tree."
Anyway. Here is what makes me happy with this purchase:
1. It cost the same as the cut tree we bought last year, which we were unhappy with for a variety of reasons. So if next year I find a fake tree I like better, we will financially be no further behind than if we'd bought a cut tree again this year.
2. There are always people on Freecycle.org looking for Christmas trees, so I don't even have to fret about issues of waste: if we don't want this tree next year, we can feel happy about donating it to someone else who wants it.
3. I was really, really, really sick of looking for a Christmas tree.
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