Like many people, I harbor warm, fuzzy feelings toward Christmases past, but I prefer to celebrate mine squarely in the present. Although I wouldn’t call myself a minimalist, I’m wary of a lot of traditional holiday décor, which can make a room feel as overstuffed as Santa’s sleigh. When it comes to decking my halls, I like to keep it light and bright and – as you’ll see – snowy white.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve gone the fresh-cut tree route when decorating my apartment for Christmas. Nothing beats the smell and beauty of the bona fide balsam, but I imagine my obsession with the real deal was brought about by an early childhood trauma. In the late-1960’s, my parents purchased a glittery spectacle – a 7’ tall aluminum tree – made all the more resplendent by a rotating color wheel. To make matters worse, the tree was erected in a playpen, lest my brothers and I topple it and impale ourselves on its shiny spears. Mind you, the playpen was total overkill as the mere brush of a branch generated a hair-curling electric shock, which kept all at bay in fearful Technicolor awe.
After years of green tree therapy, however, I’ve found myself newly fascinated with faux firs. The naysayers among you may just chalk it up to the delayed effects of all those electric shocks, but I would beg to differ. For a couple of years now, I’ve been spending my holiday in a weekend get-away that’s very modern and very distant. Given the vibe and the drive, I needed a tree that would be high style and low maintenance. Also realizing that I wasn’t going to be fooling anyone with my fake, I figured I may as well rejoice in artificial splendor. For the ultimate in no-fuss swank, I discovered the ideal solution – a towering beacon of synthetic perfection – my pure white Christmas tree! Impossible to mistake for the real McCoy, I think of my tree as more of a sculpture that I put on exhibition once per year. It still conjures all the fond memories of Christmas, but with a little Dean Martinthrown in for good measure.
Where you come out on the great tree debate isn’t the point. What’s important is respect – for the traditions that shaped you, as well as your own innate style. A dash of one and a sprig of the other will create holidays worth remembering.