Growing up in the U.S., our family never had a real Christmas tree. Ours was a plastic one, albeit green and not white, which my mother dragged up from the basement each December for me and my brother to decorate. Every year, we strung the tree with the same ornaments and tinsel from the previous years. The only decoration that occasionally changed was the electric lighting, mostly because so many of the individual lights would eventually die and with it the luminosity of our tree.
A plastic Christmas tree is unthinkable to my husband and his family. They grew up going to the forest or to the local nursery every year to choose the favorite tree that would be cut, packed for the drive home and installed in a bucket of water in their living room. When I first admitted to them that I grew up with fake trees, they looked at me as if I had just declared that I was a martian. To me, a real live tree in the living room sounds so foreign and idyllic, something right out of a fairytale.
This afternoon my husband and his father drove to pick up this year’s Christmas tree, which will be a little different than before. For the first time in their lives, instead of picking their own tree, they have agreed to receive a tree from a friend. Hum… I wonder what this year’s tree will be and how it will compare to previous year’s.