Our Grumpy Gardener gives you the green light on going faux.

Artificial Christmas Tree
Credit: Jean Allsopp

Look in any women's magazine and you'll see fake stuff all the time. Fake eyelashes. Fake jewelry. Fake hair. Fake (augmented) body parts. But when it comes to one particular item of fakery, readers and editors recoil in horror. A fake Christmas tree doesn't mandate carrying an epi-pen?

Go ahead, search through every issue in the enormous stacks of old Southern Livings that fill your den or basement. You will not find a photo of a single artificial Christmas tree. I think this is unfair to the thousands of loyal readers who are allergic to real trees. Shouldn't we be showing them how to beautifully decorate the one kind of tree that. Of course, the issue is more than just allergies. It's about avoiding all those royal-pain-in-the-kiester steps you must take to put up in real tree in your house. Such as:

  1. Going to the Christmas tree lot to pick out a real tree. You, of course, will settle for only a popping-fresh, perfectly symmetrical, evenly branched tree guaranteed to hold its needles for at least seven hours. Such a tree does not exist. You therefore opt for a ragged, yellowing, one-sided tree that costs $75 that your kids picked out. Letting kids pick out trees is a horrible idea. They either choose one that has a squirrel's nest of top or one so big you must add a dormer to the house.
  2. Getting the tree home from the lot. People new to this operation frequently assume the tree will fit inside the car. It will not, unless you punch out the windshield. It must be securely tied to the top of the car, so its leaking resin can ruin the paint job. It must also be configured with the trunk end pointing forward, lest wind resistance rip it from the car and impale the UPS truck behind you, ruining chances for same-day delivery.
  1. Fitting the tree in the stand. Odds are that the trunk will be too big to fit in the stand you have. You'll either have to buy a new stand or cut a couple of inches off of the bottom of the trunk. You choose the latter, meaning you must haul the stupid tree back outside, providing its shedding needles their first opportunity to burrow deeply into your carpets, where they will surprise you for years to come.
  2. Getting the tree to stand up straight. Good luck with that, especially if you're among the 98% of people stuck with stands where you have to turn screws on all four sides of the trunk. The Leaning Tower of Pisa also has four screws. How did that work out?
Steve Bender Artificial Christmas Tree
Grumpy's Christmas tree looks good, smells good, and is totally fake.
| Credit: Steve Bend (aka The Grumpy Gardener)

Steve Bend (aka The Grumpy Gardener)

Nope, I'm done with all that. This year, I went with a very nice-looking, pre-lit, artificial Christmas tree that's the perfect size for our house. It assembles in about five minutes. It doesn't need water. Its needles never drop. The lights change from multicolor (my preference) to white with the push of a button. I can place hidden scent sticks around it to provide that cherished fir tree fragrance. And I only have to buy it once.

Wake up, America! The joy of the holidays is now accessible to all. It comes in one, big box. Need some advice on picking out the right artificial Christmas tree? Check out our tips here.

It's time to stop dreading the annual trip to the Christmas tree lot, the endless days of sweeping and vacuuming pine needles (which can last well into the spring) and the fight to get under the tree to water it every few days. A sturdy and gorgeous artifical tree will last for years and save you plenty of money and hassle in the process.