Breland: Saga of the sad Christmas tree

Published 1:34 pm Friday, December 3, 2021

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As is usually the case, I don’t yet have a Christmas tree up and decorated. I didn’t put one up last year at all. No matter how good my intentions, I admit that it is usually the last week before Christmas before the tree is pulled out from its hiding place, decorated and placed on view.

I do have an artificial tree. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no other kind. So why an artificial tree? Why not? Once a tree is decorated, one can’t tell if the tree is live or artificial. Some of the man-made trees are so life-like, they look more alive than the real trees. We can always add the tree smell.

We have used man-made trees for a while, but the switch from live trees dates back a few years. This sad tale has become sort of a tradition to tell.

The children enjoyed picking a special tree on our property. The chosen tree looked very pretty, just the right size and the right shape, in spite of the scarce amount of rain over the summer.

It didn’t want to give up the ghost for us, because in spite of the water in the tree stand, within two days the tree turned yellow and started shedding needles everywhere.

It became a very pitiful tree. Every time anybody got within reach of a limb, it reached out its long yellow needles and bit them! It was so dry we were afraid to turn on the lights for more than a few minutes.

The fact that it died so suddenly wasn’t why we decided to not to cut any more trees for Christmas.

My children’s aunt and uncle were home from another state that year and came to our house to visit. When the aunt stepped inside the door, looking straight at our tree, she burst out in gales of laughter. When she finally composed herself, she said truthfully, “That is without a doubt the saddest, ugliest Christmas tree I have ever seen.”

In spite of the insult to our tree and our efforts to keep it alive, it caused us to see the tree in an entirely new light. Poor little tree. Gave its life for us and now it was suffering not only death, but humiliation as well. It was too much. We left it up anyway.

Santa Claus arrived right on target on Christmas Eve. He probably even snickered at our poor tree, but hopefully it didn’t bite him.

Later Christmas Day, I decided to put the poor thing out of its misery. Finally, it had the opportunity to get some measure of revenge. Every time I touched it to remove an ornament, it caused me pain from the now really sharp needles. It literally fell apart and I had to wrap it in a black garbage bag to take it outside.

I threw it out with the rest of the holiday garbage. By the time I had it un-decorated, I was sorry I ever met the tree.

So, from that time to this, we have had a series of artificial trees. They look and act the same from the time you take them out of the box and decorate, to the time they are un-decorated, folded up and put back into the box. That is, usually.

One year out came the usual big box holding the artificial tree and all the limbs were there, but the tree trunk was not. It never turned up and we never solved “The Mystery of the Missing Tree Trunk.” We had to buy a new one.

Truthfully, I’m rarely in a Christmas tree decorating mood. Just not my creative outlet. Hopefully it will happen before Christmas arrives.

 Retired as Associate News Editor, Bob Ann Breland writes a weekly column for The Daily News. You can email her at