Up until last month my answer to this question came without even a nano second of hesitation. I was a real girl. No fake Christmas trees for me. As a kid growing up we always headed to the same Christmas Tree lot where Rick Giddings would help us find the perfect tree. Real trees carry memories for me. The smell, the pesky pine needles, the sap, forgetting to water them...it's what Christmas is all about.
After Mark and I got married and had a family of our own we would drive up the Sierras to a Christmas tree lot in Forrest Hill and chop down our own trees each year. It was the best. They had a horse drawn wagon to take you deep into the property, a huge tree swing to play on ,and my favorite thing of all, a bonfire so that we could stay warm, roast hotdogs and sip cocoa while feeling festive. When we moved away from Sacramento, my festive day at the tree lot became a quick trip to Home Depot. But that didn't matter because I still loved having a REAL tree.
That all changed a few days before Thanksgiving. Mark and I went to Lowes to buy a ladder. While he was shopping I took Matthew with me to enjoy the Christmas decorations. I saw a cluster of fake, pre-lit trees and went over to look at them-- I used to like looking at how ridiculously expensive they are. A fellow shopper saw me looking and started telling me that he had a pre-lit tree at home, at least 9 feet tall and beautiful that he was donating in a few days. Then as he left he gave me his business card and said that I could have it if I wanted it. He left and I felt stunned. Here I was in Lowe's facing a question to which I had always had an answer--no fake trees!!! But, if it really looked like some of these trees (which were over $350) maybe I should take a look?? So... long story short, we went his house. This is the tree. It works great in our living room. But, for the record, I am still a real tree girl.