A Very Un-Pinterest Christmas

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Karl hates Christmas. I don’t know if it’s because his mom passed away soon after the holiday and it reminds him of it, because he despises the consumerism, or because he gets sick every Christmas Eve. Seriously, every Christmas Karl has a cold and it is a bummer for everyone. Earlier this year we went for a hike and during our conversation he mentioned how evergreens always make him wheezy, even the smell of artificial pine gives him a headache and causes him to sneeze. Well duh, he gets sick every Christmas because we have a ginormous evergreen tree in our home!

“We won’t have a tree this year,” Karl decided. “I’ll make something with leftover wood, we can have pegs and hang cranberry and popcorn garlands.”

“If it can’t hold traditional ornaments, I don’t want it.” I replied. Sorry, but I love tradition. I love unwrapping ornaments and remembering the stories behind them. I love that Emerson’s old enough now to be interested in those stories. I love putting on my Santa hat, turning on the holiday music channel on the TV, pouring a glass of wine and decorating the tree while singing along with the tunes. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until that silver-plated Pottery Ban star I bought in high school before I even had a home of my own is put on the top of the tree.

jaclyn smith sheffield pine

And so this Sunday the tree we strapped to the roof of our Subaru was in a box, and the box proudly proclaimed that the contents were part of the Jaclyn Smith collection.

As we strapped the box to the roof of the car, I made a joke about this being very un-pinteresty. Karl being a good blogger’s husband knew exactly what I meant. And being a good pain in the ass who loves to tease me, he decided to drive slowly all around town past the grocery store, the lake, the farmers market, the aquatic center so everyone could see our Jaclyn Smith Prelit Sheffield Pine. I hit his arm, told him to take us home, but soon was laughing just like Emerson was in the back seat because come ON, Christmas isn’t about Pinterest, Christmas is about family! And my family will be healthier and more in the holiday spirit with our plastic prelit Jaclyn Smith tree than something that could be liked or favorite or retweeted or repinned.

So Emerson and I donned Santa hats, I got her a juice box and me a glass of juice from a different box (hey hey hey Bota!), we turned on the Christmas music and decorated our new tree while Karl made dinner. Ornaments were broken in the process, there’s far more ornaments on the lower right side of the tree where Emerson hovered, and this tree isn’t nearly as majestic as the cut ones we have brought home in previous years. But for the first December in a while, I felt the Christmas spirit coming from all of us in the home. Karl even sang along with a couple of the songs! The holidays aren't about Pinterest or Facebook or Instagram but about the people in your heart.  The snow is snowing and the wind is blowing, but I will weather the storm. What do I care how much it may storm, I've got my love to keep me warm!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I grew up with an artificial tree so once we had our first house, I insisted on a real tree. And I enjoyed it for the first few years. But it didn’t take long before I’d had my fill of watering it, watering it some more, vacuuming up needles, and vacuuming up more needles 😉 Once we discovered pre-lit artificial trees, back to plastic we went! This year my husband upgraded our tree on Black Friday: our new tree is not only pre-lit, but it comes in *both* white and multi-colored. One of the settings alternates between the two; we call it our Disco Tree! (It’s not from Jaclyn Smith but her rival, Martha Stewart.)

  2. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with an artificial tree 🙂 My dad taking the Christmas tree down from the attic and laying all the pieces out on the living room floor while blasting classic rock is a very fond memory for me. I think it’s having the family come together to do the Christmas-y stuff: the Christmas music, tree decorating, and not necessarily the type of tree in your living room, is what’s important. I hope you all have a happy and healthy Christmas! 🙂

  3. Aw, that is the true spirit of compromise! I’ve always had artificial trees so I don’t know what it’s like to have a real one. I have heard that they’re terrible to clean up after with all the pine needles. Just a few years ago we got a pre-lit tree and they are the BEST! Enjoy your holidays and a sick-free Karl!

  4. Wait – I still want to see the final product – Pinterest-able or not! *lol* My apartment is too small for any sort of tree but once I get a bigger place I plan to get a white fiberglass tree 🙂 Too many memories of having to clean up pine needles and being paranoid about fires as a kid!

  5. Congratulations on comprising; that’s what a marriage and/or partnership is all about. I have to say that I’m with Karl on this one. Allergy testing years ago revealed why I suffer around grass, trees and so much more. I have always abhorred the smell of evergreen and pine, so I haven’t had a real tree in my home in decades. A few years ago, we got a 13 foot tree in my office and it looked just gorgeous with all the decorations and lights. Luckily, it was pretty far away from my desk, so I suffered very little. But, as you found out and I realized, a tree comprises just a small part of the Christmas spirit. It’s all about family, friends and faith. Happy holidays to you and your family.

  6. I grew up with real Christmas trees and always had one when my children were young, though I left buying it until just before Christmas because of the mess the pine needles made. Well one year, when I went to buy the real tree, I discovered there had been a shortage and everywhere had sold out! “I’ll buy an artificial tree then,” I decided, only to discover that the only ones left were really expensive and beyond my budget or tiny. I had to buy a small one, which wasn’t big enough for decorations and Christmas lights – disaster! I put it on top of a cardboard box, which I covered in Christmas paper and I wrapped the lights around it. My younger daughter Kate was NOT impressed! Now she’s an adult and every year she buys the biggest real Christmas tree she can find…….! I wonder why? Kate is visiting us this year and will have to put up with an artificial tree, though it will have lots of decorations and lights and I’m sure she won’t mind! Christmas is definitely a time for families getting together. Loved the Rosemary Clooney video by the way!

  7. ” … because come ON, Christmas isn’t about Pinterest, Christmas is about family! And my family will be healthier and more in the holiday spirit with our plastic prelit Jaclyn Smith tree than something that could be liked or favorite or retweeted or repinned.”

    My new mantra for this Christmas!! Thank you so much for writing this!

  8. Totally agree. And I hope that having a fake tree means there are no colds/allergies this year! We have had a fake tree forever. With so much travelling over the holidays and animals in the house it is just easier to go fake. Maybe because I grew up with an artificial tree it just seems normal. I still totally love it. I love brining out the ornaments and decorating the tree. The kids helped this year and I didn’t even redistribute the ornaments (that much) this year!

  9. Pinterest is the ultimate place for comparing your insides to someone else’s outsides. Everything you see there has been tweaked.

    We went to a party at someone’s home last month and they had all the drinks set up in the basement.
    I was down there getting some ice and looked into their storage room – the kids had opened the doors as they were playing. There was their Christmas tree, right in the corner. I decided they must take that tree down to the basement, still decorated, when Christmas is over, and bring it back up again for the next season.
    So, go ahead and do the pre-lit tree, but please, please, please – when Christmas is over, take the ornaments off and put it all away.

    1. Oh gosh that’s hysterical! No room in my house for such a thing (doesn’t it get dusty?). And your first sentence is perfect, Pinterest is the ultimate place for comparing your insides to someone else’s insides. So true.

  10. we made the switch to a faux prelit tree 14 years ago when my son was 3. We were always sick throughout the holiday season, and I totally attribute it to the pollen and mold introduced by the christmas tree. Knock on wood, we have had no instances of mass sickness since.

  11. We made the switch to a faux prelim tree 14 years ago, when my son was 3. Every year all 3 of us were sick. sick. sick. I attribute it to pollen and mold introduced to our house. Knock on wood, we have not had mass sickness since!

  12. Oh, my lord, is this wonderful. I’m so happy you’ve found the Christmas spirit – and that Karl has, too. As someone with a looooong tradition of real trees who has uttered “Over my dead body” 100% seriously about having a faux tree (I mean, my grandparents and uncle sold the fresh cut ones for years at their garden center and beyond), I feel the struggle you must’ve had in making the decision. It might seem small to some, but knowing how much you love tradition, I’m sure it felt HUGE. Also, if I had to make this decision, I might go with pink tinsel, a la the 1960s. Just sayin’ 🙂

    1. Karl and I were admiring the white metallic tree but Emerson put her foot down and said it had to look “normal!” 🙂 She was right, it looks very nice in our living room, and man it was nice not having to string the lights (and remove them in a few weeks!).

  13. Oh my goodness, I love this post! It is a beautiful sentiment on what makes a marriage and family great.
    Merry Christmas to you!

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