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Rhonda Robinson


November 17, 2013 - 7:30 am


The window candles are all in place. I love how their warm glow greets the dark, cool autumn air. The sound of cousins giggling is the current music playing throughout the house.  The season of giving thanks and celebrating family and friends is in full swing at the Robinsons’.

The first wave of house guests arrived this week. Our daughter, along with three little grand-daughters, is visiting while their daddy is on a hunting trip.

Reminiscing, talk of creating new traditions, and plans for a dress-up tea party filled our first days together. It’s been mildly amusing over the years to watch my adult children’s early attempts at capturing the Christmas spirit those first years out on their own. At first, my oldest son Chris thought Christmas only resided at our house. So he hauled his new bride home to spend the night with us (on the couch) for Christmas. If the spirit of Christmas was in our home that year, it didn’t come within ten feet of that poor girl. That particular tradition didn’t seem to fit his family well–and died quickly.

Not willing to give up, a few years later he decided it was all about the tree.

So a new family tradition was in order, and they made an outing of the whole Christmas tree process. The best part of the afternoon was spent at a local tree farm searching for the perfect tree. They found it, the largest Christmas tree they could imagine.

Hot chocolate and Christmas music set the mood. The children learned to string popcorn while mom and dad decorated the giant tree. Then the unthinkable happened. Their beautiful fully decorated tree crashed to the floor. They all took it in stride… the first time.

The second time it hit the ground, there was little humor left. Once again the family made it whole again, then called it a night.

With everyone tuckered out, tucked in and sound asleep they heard a loud clatter. It was not the joyful sounds of reindeer hoofs, but you guessed it, falling timber and shattering glass.


The next morning, my boy (the carpenter) fixed the problem.

He went straight into the garage and got his hammer and some nails. He then proceeded to nail the tree to the floor. Yes, he nailed it… and there it stood tall, secure and bright until sometime in February.

Every year since, they have kept their own tradition of setting up a pre-lit, artificial tree.

This year may very well be our last year of a “real” tree. I hate the thought of 37 years of a family tradition coming to a close. Every year, right after Thanksgiving, we have gone on a hunt for the perfect tree–and always found it.

However, with only one left at home, it’s time to rethink what are the important traditions to keep and what brings more stress than joy.

Truthfully, two weeks after Christmas last year was the perfect time to decide if you want to put up an artificial tree this year. Only because that’s the best time to buy one.

The second best time is now, while the selection is at its fullest—especially if you’re picky about your fresh tree.

What will you put up this year—will your tree be real or fake? Which is best?



Photo Credits Shutterstock alpha234LightspringLuisa Puccini

Rhonda Robinson writes on the social, political and parenting issues currently shaping the American family. She lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Middle Tennessee. Follow on twitter @amotherslife

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All Comments   (3)
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We've moved to a table-top tree. It's fresh and adorable and I can pick it up with one hand if I want!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
While I love the scent of a real tree, it's too much of a fire hazard and the needles make too much mess. So, an artificial tree for me. It's usually perched in front of a window, but besides that I'm usually the only one who sees it. It's not perfect, but I can live with pretty good.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My "Christmas tree" is a triangular arrangement of favored ornaments hung from suction cups on my sliding glass door. It's the perfect solution for my small condo.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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