By Holly Scudero
Growing up, we always had an artificial tree for Christmas. Always. I didn’t really even know real trees were a thing until I was in middle school at least, and even then, I didn’t see the appeal. For our family, there was something special about the process of the artificial tree: pulling the branches down, “fluffing” them, doing our best to make the tree look natural and real. And then, of course, decorating it.
An artificial tree meant decorating for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, and leaving everything up until the day after New Year’s. And that is something you can’t do with a “real” tree.
My husband, on the other hand, grew up with real trees. Their tradition involved going to the local tree lot a week or so before Christmas and finding that perfect tree. Not too big, not too small. The right spread of branches, the right height, the perfect fit for their living room.
And the smell. Oh, that smell. For my husband, it’s not quite Christmas without that fresh scent of pine.
In our married life, we have ultimately settled down with a nice artificial tree–I won that debate. Artificial trees don’t involve cutting down a tree every year. They make significantly less mess. We only had to buy it once. And we can leave it up for weeks.
The only thing that’s been missing is that fresh pine smell.
And that’s where new Christmas traditions come into play. This last year, our Christmas decor had an addition: a fresh, beautifully-made pine wreath. Hanging from a door in the living room, it added that touch of fresh forest scent our home needed for it to truly feel like Christmas.
We had always talked about doing this, but last winter was the first time we actually had one on display. And honestly, I don’t know how we have managed so long without a wreath. Winter just felt more like winter. Christmas felt more like Christmas. Next year, buying a wreath will be at the top of my holiday shopping list.
Holly Scudero is a mom of two and a wife of ten years currently living in Virginia. Her writing about family, food, and home has appeared in Natural Mother Magazine, City Book Review, Parent Co., VegNews, and other venues.