Wednesday, November 14, 2012

When it comes to Christmas Trees, more of less is more…

At least according to The Wall Street Journal.

In an article posted last week in Life & Culture, WSJ chronicles the dawn of a new era in tree trimming.

When I was growing up, we had just one. It was the perfect artificial cone – a bit over 6 feet tall and every bit as wide. Like clockwork each year, the weekend after Thanksgiving it came down from the attic. With just four fair strings of colored lights, (the pinks having long faded to pale orange and yellow); there it stood fireplace-adjacent.

Every December my brother and I would join Mom at Hallmark and carefully select a shiny new ornament to add to the collection.
If you’re in your late-20s/early-30s and got your rearing in the Midwest, I’m guessing your story is much the same.

Not the case today.

More and more households are leaving Santa in a Christmas morning quandary.

Where does one leave the gifts when there are trees in both the family and living rooms!? And what’s Kris Kringle supposed to do with the two flanking the dining room hutch or the one standing at the end of the kitchen counter?

As with jeans, ties, and lattes – ‘skinny’ is in.

And like our low-cal peppermint mochas, the skinnier the tree, the more we think we can afford to have.

While the WSJ article cites several probable reasons for the skinny tree endemic (cheaper, easier to decorate, less evasive in tight, urban dwellings, etc.), this blogger sees something less conservative at play. And, in name of full-disclosure, I couldn’t be happier!

Christmas trimming companies are taking full-advantage of our inherent need to overdo it.

With lights being replaced every 5+ years and only two or three new heirloom ornaments added each year, there was more than cookies and milk being left on the table.

And so, product lines got extended (a few times over).

Today lights come in practically thousands of combinations, once single ornaments have become themed collections of 20+.
"World's Largest Christmas Store" - Bronner's Christmas Wonderland - Frankenmuth, MI
Retailers know that for many of us, Christmas triggers instant salivation and delight; it stimulates dormant, fond memories of food, family and fun.

We see Christmas and we want it now. And in today’s superfluous world of over-doing, the more really is the merrier!

So we keep our original “family tree” (it’s the one with junky, school-made ornaments hanging from it, Santa – go put the gifts there). But just to show off to the neighbors, we also have ones to match the décor of both the living and dining rooms. We have one in the kitchen, dressed by mom with gingerbread men, spoons, spatulas and peppermint print ribbon. We even have one in the finished basement for Dad, complete with sports and poker-themed ornaments.

Today, we have it all, we change it often and the industry continues to grow.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to put the finishing touches on my designer pencil tree of deep mahogany and garish gold, already some 1800 lights strong. :P

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