We never had a real Christmas tree growing up, just a four foot artificial one. But, my Aunt Mary, who lived downstairs from us, always got a real tree every year. I loved going downstairs and smelling that fresh pine smell. There is nothing like that scent at Christmas and it always heightened my Christmas spirit. My aunt even let my brother and I help decorate her tree with my cousins, and taught us not to throw handfuls of tinsel at it, but to hang them, strand by strand, on each branch.
When I got married, my parents decided they didn’t want the nice, full, six foot, artificial tree and decorations I bought for the family with my first paychecks. I inherited everything and used it for many years. It was just easier to put up and take down and no big mess to clean afterwards. Besides, we used to put the tree up early and by the time Christmas came the pine needles would have started falling off. But I always longed to have a real, pine smelling tree.
One year, not too long ago, I decided we would get a real tree for Christmas. We were putting the tree up just a week before Christmas for a while because the girls were in college and didn’t have time for anything until after finals. It was a perfect time to make the change. We all went out as a family, to a local tree seller, and picked out the “perfect” tree. We had a hard time getting it home, thank God it was just a few short blocks from the house. We even had trouble getting it into the house. It was beginning to turn into a comedy. Two of us in the front guiding it, two in the back pushing it. My husband and I were too old for this, we were past our “real Christmas tree prime,” but the tree smelled awesome. Soon the whole living room was filled with it’s scent. I thought the girls would be excited to have a real tree and that they would enjoy the smell as much as I always did. I was wrong. My older daughter didn’t care for it and my younger daughter, well that is another story.
My younger daughter not only didn’t like the scent of the tree, but after inhaling it for a couple of days, she developed some allergies to it and started sneezing and her nose itching. At first I thought she had come down with a cold, but no. She has always had allergies and the doctor told me she was allergic to trees, but she had had all her shots and I just forgot about it. Now she was suffering and blowing her nose and rubbing her eyes thanks to my need for a real tree. So the whole “real tree” experience was a mini disaster and didn’t turn out the way I had hoped or expected it to.
Needless to say, instead of leaving the tree up until after New Year’s Day, we took it down the day after Christmas, to alleviate my daughter’s allergies. I cannot tell you the number of pine needles that were left on the carpet. As neat and orderly as we tried to be, we left a trail of pine needles all the way out the door. So many of them fell that I think it nearly broke my vacuum cleaner. But the bonus was that my vacuum had an exhaust pine smell for weeks after. I loved it and it made me want to vacuum more.