the past few weeks, media outlets have reported that holiday consumers
should expect a shortage of Christmas trees this year due to the
supply-chain crisis, climate change and the trees themselves refusing
to re-enter the workforce after becoming addicted to Netflix and
Flamin' Hot Cheetos during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although I believe the reports (along with everything else I read
on Facebook), I haven't felt the impact of the shortage myself.
In fact, I just recently upgraded to a 9 ft artificial Christmas
tree from Hobby Lobby for 50% off and I only ruptured two
major organs (and an air bag) cramming it into my wife's compact
vehicle because she drove our SUV to work that day.
My family has always decorated with artificial Christmas trees.
In fact, we've been displaying the same artificial pencil-style
Christmas trees in our home for the past decade or so because we're
all about sustainability and, according to Facebook, buyers
in past years have brought home real trees that are accidentally
accessorized with live woodland animals like hawks, owls, snakes
and raccoons. A family in Australia even found a live koala in their
Christmas tree and not the stuffed version with the Velcro
paws. Although it might actually be kind of neat to find one of
these critters in a Christmas tree, I'm pretty sure that my three
teen daughters would insist on trying to keep the stowaway wildlife
as pets and I would (as usual) somehow be placed in charge
of dropping removal.
Seriously, though, I was raised on artificial Christmas trees. My
earliest memories from childhood in the 1970's are of a solid white
tree in the family living room. It was decorated with bright red
balls, matching tinsel, and ornaments shaped like candy that I couldn't
resist sampling repeatedly hoping that the next bite might
taste like something other than asbestos.
We also occasionally trimmed a tree with ornaments that my big brother
and I had made when he didn't have me in a headlock. Several
of these decorations were the kind that displayed our elementary
school portraits, most of mine featuring a hairstyle from my embarrassing
My grandmother had one of those state-of-the-art silver aluminum
trees decked out with metallic blue decorations. It looked like
it either belonged in Studio 54 or with Mr. Spock on the main bridge
of the Starship Enterprise, which for fledgling geeks like
my brother and me made Christmas at her house even more "fascinating."
(See what I did there?)
So, this holiday season we'll carry on our tradition with a brand
new discounted artificial Christmas tree that I'll dread taking
down sometime in late February. I do feel a little sad that I won't
be making my yearly death-defying trip up the attic ladder to retrieve
our old pencil trees in their boxes if you could even call
them boxes anymore. They're really just geological formations of
petrified duct tape holding together what once could have been described
as cardboard. I think I might just leave them up there permanently
for my three daughters to discover someday when I'm gone
and give them one last reason to be annoyed with me.
Despite the possible Christmas tree shortage, my hope is that you
and your family are able to enjoy this wonderful holiday season
when we share gifts with our loved ones to celebrate the Lord's
most miraculous gift to us all. And if you do manage to bring home
a live tree this year, may you enjoy its natural beauty, revel in
its fresh scent, and check under it periodically for koala droppings.