Printer Friendly

THE GREAT CHRISTMAS TREE DEBATE REAL VS. FAKE.

Byline: Brent Hopkins Staff Writer

The Battle of Christmas Day has cleaved the country in two, pitting the Traditionalists vs. the Conveniencers. There is little common ground in their fight for treedom.

They share a common interest, culture and traditions. Both say ``Merry Christmas'' and sip the occasional eggnog. Their ornaments are hung with equal care, but their branches diverge wildly.

The Traditionalists would consider nothing but a real, hearty Christmas tree; the Conveniencers find their holiday happier without a prickly, drippy mess slowly wilting in the corner.

``I grew up cutting the tree down, playing in the snow, getting sap all over you,'' said Dana Bischoff, a seasonal worker at Nancy's Ranch in Santa Clarita. ``It sucks at the time, but it's a great memory later on.''

BY NATURE

Scent: Purists love their pine.

Cost: As little as $20.

Memories: You had one when you were a kid, strung popcorn and sang carols at its base, probably ``O Christmas Tree.''

The Recycling Factor: You can mulch it or replant it once its indoor use is done.

The numbers: The National Christmas Tree Association says real trees outsell their artificial counterparts 3 to 1 every year.

X Factor: Charlie Brown proved that even a spindly, sorry-looking tree can shine if trimmed with love.

MAN-MADE

Scent: Allergy sufferers like that synthetic trees are unscented.

Cost: As little as $40.

Memories: None ... of Dad cursing the lights, the animal that came in with the tree or the year Junior got sap in his hair playing amid the branches.

The Recycling Factor: Plastic and metal; you actually get money back when you toss this tree out.

The numbers: Of course, real outsells fake. With warranties of up to 25 years, you can buy one and enjoy it for decades.

X Factor: No needles, no water, no clogging the vacuum cleaner for months.

LET THE FIR FLY

At the Cervantes household, the deep scent of an evergreen ushers in Christmas.

This is not a casual holiday for David and Leticia and their young children. It's an all-out extravaganza, requiring grandparents, music, movies and, most definitely, a sturdy, real Christmas tree.

``We've had artificial ones in the past,'' David admitted as the family sized up a fresh-cut Monterey pine, soon to be strapped onto the back of his Toyota pickup for the short trip to his Santa Clarita home. ``But it's never the same. Coming out here with the kids makes it feel more traditional.''

They checked out pines, examined firs, sized up options in the evening chill this week at Nancy's Ranch, a cut-your-own tree farm in Valencia. This is an event for the whole family, rounded out with grandparents and traditions that run decades deep.

They watch ``A Christmas Carol'' and the travails of Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun in ``The Christmas Story'' on TV. They listen to ``Jingle Bells'' and ``The Little Drummer Boy'' at least 10 times a day. And to complement the natural beauty of their tree, they erect a 6-foot, 6-inch, 300-pound Santa Claus statue.

Pulling a tree out of a closet just doesn't wash.

``This is how you teach your kids so they can teach theirs one day,'' said Leticia. ``It's my favorite holiday. It's nice people still have the Christmas spirit.''

Richard Campbell logged a half-century of real trees at Christmastime before he gladly went plastic.

The Tarzana retiree loved buying a real tree for years, but lately he's had it. He traded the needles, the water, the pitch, the hassle, for a 5-foot, pre-lighted model, complete with artificial pine cones.

For $109, Campbell has gone gloriously fake, without a hint of regret.

``You pull it out of the box with the lights on and you're done,'' he said this week, as a worker at Green Thumb Nursery in Canoga Park loaded his packaged purchase onto a dolly. ``The regular ones, you had to fill the water pot, which then you always forgot to do. Six, 10 days later, you got the droopy branches, especially if you had a big ornament. And when you take 'em down at New Year's, you've got a pretty sad tree.''

The kids might look a little askance, the upfront investment might be a little more, but Campbell's glad to be done fooling around with the routine of wrangling a new real tree into the living room every year. One with artificial needles and a warranty suits him just fine now.

``For 55 years, we had the real tree and nothing else,'' he said. ``At this stage in life, we want to have just one more tree.''

CAPTION(S):

3 photos

Photo:

(1) Those who hate vacuuming up pine needles after the Christmas season, or who have allergies, favor a man-made tree.

David Sprague/Staff Photographer

(2 -- color) no caption (real tree)

(3 -- color) no caption (fake tree)
COPYRIGHT 2005 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 9, 2005
Words:808
Previous Article:SOUTHERN SECTION DIV. II CHAMPIONSHIP.
Next Article:SENIORS ARRANGE SERIES OF TRIPS.


Related Articles
NEW LIFE FOR CHRISTMAS TREES.
FANTASTIC PLASTIC MANY SOUTHLAND RESIDENTS FIND THEMSELVES PINING FOR FAKE HOLIDAY TREES.
SERVICE BRANCHING OUT INTO REMOVAL OF TREES.
The power of fake news.
In practice.
Real or fake?
Christmas in Iraq.
Blockbuster marketing campaign puts real tree sales on track.
SPRUCING UP HOMES EARLY MANY TREE LOVERS GETTING HEAD START ON HOLIDAYS.
FedEx Corp. and the Christmas Tree assn join forces to bring real trees to real heroes.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters