It's just a Christmas tree
You may or may not love Christmas. Whether you do or you don't the odds are that you will put up a tree indoors at Christmas - a Christmas tree. These have come a long way since Queen Victoria of England, in the 19th Century popularized the Christmas tree. She was persuaded by her beloved husband German Prince Albert.
The celebratory trees do however date back to a time long before this Queen.
In ancient times people had a different relationship with trees and foliage. Plants and the like often had an almost religious feel. Before the birth of Christianity people believed they could ward of evil spirits, or at least some people believed that they could.
Following the lead of Queen Victoria of England the West adopted the practice of decorating a tree and placing one in their homes. That practice has continued in the UK during wars, good and bad times, and changing fashions; the “tree", however, has experienced some changes along the years.
Real or artificial
This can be one of the most important factors in choosing your tree. There are pros and cons to both. An artificial tree may seem better value for money, as it will last for years. It does not drop needles and does not have to be transported home each year. These days you can buy artificial trees that look real.
You may say why not then buy real in the first place, but read on.
Artificial trees come in many shapes, colours and sizes.
There are half trees which can be attached to walls. This is very useful where space is at a premium. There are many, many colours available also.
Real trees have in their favour tradition, a specific scent, memories and eye appeal for some.
A real tree does not have to drop needles from the day it is put up to the day it is taken down. On the contrary you can buy real trees these days which are grown so that the needles will not shed easily. It is also down to how you treat the tree in your home. It is after all a living thing and will need some specific TLC, tender loving care.
For example if you place a Christmas tree next to a radiator in your home it will not fare well. Simple.
Real Trees can pose a problem after Christmas. You could buy one that is suitable to plant in your garden after the festivities end. Alternatively you could chop it up using the wood to burn and the foliage for garden compost. Although many trees are planted with Christmas in mind you should consider the environmental implications of buying a real Christmas tree.
More choice from artificial
If you decide on an artificial tree you will find a huge choice on offer. First and foremost consider the colour of the tree. Personally green trees speak Christmas but the choice is yours. Many people these days purchase a tree to fit in with the style of their home. They then dress the tree accordingly with specific themes or colours. Black trees are also popular. They are not too dissimilar to some real trees in reality. They may look to you like a dead tree but they will often fit into a modern home better than a traditional Christmas tree.
White trees have been around for many years. They usually look very artificial. You could choose one instead that was basically green but already dressed with fake snow. These trees look more white than green in some cases.
If you want to let your imagination fly go for purple, bright pink or orange.
A word of caution here though.
If you are buying a fake tree as it is more value for money stick with traditional green. If you do not you may find that you are stuck with a bright pink tree which you hate a couple of Christmases down the road.
When you buy an artificial tree always buy from a reputable retailer. Check the label to ensure that it meets your country's safety standards. You do not want to bring a fire hazard into your home do you?
Remember to take into account the cost of decorating the tree. Bear this in mind as far as costs and colours go. If you buy an orange coloured tree for example you will be limited what you can decorate it with, unless you are a clever designer.
Up and ready
One advantage with some Christmas trees is that they come as a package.
You can purchase a pre-lit tree but you can go much further. You can buy a tree which has fixed decorations on it. Each year you will simply get it out of its box, shake it and erect the tree.
Job done after a little fiddling about.
Most of us, however much we complain about "doing the tree", love to decorate the Tree though.
It brings back memories, allows your artistic side to soar, can be sociable, enables different and personal choices, and so much more. A pre-lit and pre-decorated tree could be too clinical for you.
If you have mobility issues however one could be perfect.
If you live on your own and struggle with fiddly objects it may be a must.
Each year the "lights" need to be tested, wound around the tree and so on. A pre lit tree can save you time and a frayed temper.
The downside with pre-lit trees can be if the lights no longer work. If your tree has served you faithfully over a few years that may not be a problem. It could be time for a change.
Most of the things you need to consider about what type of Christmas tree to buy boil down to personal choice, safety and money.
In our increasingly lengthy marriage we have had at least one Christmas tree in our home each year, except for perhaps one year. When we were newly-weds we would buy a huge real tree. With no car we would carry it home between us. By the time we arrived home the tree had less needles than earlier and we were covered in them. Days later we would find odd ones in our hair. Occasionally tempers heated up but on the whole it was fun but it was also not easy.
For many years we have had artificial trees. After a rather poor looking one we bought a decent real looking tree which served us well for years. Last year we opted to update and went for a traditional looking pre-lit tree. My heart occasionally toys with the idea of a real tree but my brain says no. This year with our latest, fast and furious rescue dog Tinka a real tree does not make sense.
Who knows, next year could be different.
As a final thought
I have wonderful memories of our childhood Christmas tree. At the time it was, now how do you say it these days, awesome. When we removed it many years later it was in reality a pathetic post-war effort. It was all of two feet tall, if that. It was spindly with little foliage. It was in reality dismal.
However once Mum got to work on it the magic begun.
Remember Christmas magic is about more than biggest and best.
I can still see that childhood tree in my mind's eye and for me it will always remain, awesome.