Oh, Christmas Tree. Oh, Christmas Tree…

We’ve always had a real Christmas tree; decorating it and wrapping presents to place under it has been half the joy of Christmas for me. A few weeks ago, I bought an Amazon Local deal: $20 for $40 to spend at a nearby Christmas tree lot and then I realised… we probably shouldn’t get a real tree this year. I am reacting to everything lately and I’ve been bothered by the small tree in my meditation room and the soil it sits in. Last Christmas was the lowest point in my ME journey so far and I’ve gone downhill since the summer, so I really don’t want to aggravate things by having a smelly, potentially moldy tree in the house for a month (most asthma and allergy sites I looked at recommended against a real tree). I even asked in my MCAD group and the vast majority of those that answered get a fake tree.


So, we bought a fat 7.5′-tall artificial tree from my friend for $150. He said it was used once and kept in a back bedroom all year. My husband opened it up and we let it sit and air out on the porch for 5 days and then he moved furniture and broke his back bringing it inside, setting it up, and tweaking every branch and twig for an hour to make it full and beautiful. When I came through my vapour barrier from upstairs, before I’d even looked into the room and seen it was up, I knew the tree was there. It was like walking into a wall of smell. I couldn’t identify the smell. It wasn’t a plastic smell and it didn’t smell like dust or manufacturing stench, but it was a very large smell. I’d go into the kitchen to get something to eat and, as I walked back into the sitting room, I would stop short as I hit that fetor again. Over and over, the heaviness of it took me by surprise. My throat was burning, I got headachy… Normal issues for me, yes, but I felt like it was the tree. Or, at least, having those symptoms while being enveloped in that smell, correlated them in my brain. To add insult to injury, it is a really high quality, pre-lighted tree and the lights are SO INCREDIBLY BRIGHT in our small room, that it hurts both of our eyes and leaves spots in front of our vision. I thought bright lights were a selling point, but not in my world, of course. Central immune system sensitization is like an evil super power.

My husband, stony-faced, took it back outside while I apologised profusely for my fucked up body and my inability to do any of the heavy lifting. The guilt can be all-consuming.

I spent the next three hours shopping online for hypoallergenic artificial trees or green/healthy trees to no avail. Then I went on Ebay to look for metal trees and found these two for $100:

Screenshot_2014-12-11-12-50-24-1        Screenshot_2014-12-11-12-49-51-1

Scentless (hopefully), washable… I started to get hopeful again that there could be something pretty to hang our ornaments on and create a festive feeling. I emailed them to my husband, bothered him at work to take off his rain gear (he’s a landscaper in Seattle) and look at the links (he hated the scroll one, but thought we might be able to do something with the spiral one)…

But then I found these metal trees on a different site:

Screenshot_2014-12-11-12-53-37-1               Screenshot_2014-12-11-12-52-59-1

Twice as much, but maybe a good investment? I texted my husband again. There are no gold spiral ones left and only 2 black ones! We have to hurry to make a decision! Then I realised that they didn’t even guarantee Christmas delivery. So, best case scenario, we’d get it a few days before Christmas, which just doesn’t seem worth it when the whole pretty and festive lead-up to the day is what I enjoy (plus, it takes me weeks to decorate a tree with my energy level — a few ornaments a day) and, worst case scenario, it’d arrive after Christmas and be useless to us this year… and then probably go on sale in January.

I told my husband forget it, we’re shit out of luck.

Theeenn… I checked my emails. Somehow, while shopping for trees on my phone in my bed at 1am last night, my finger had hit “one click ordering” on Amazon (a really evil option that doesn’t bring you to a different screen to look at your shopping cart or confirm your selection, it just orders it — in “one click”) and we have an artificial “pencil” tree coming in the mail. I emailed the sellers because it said it hadn’t been sent yet: “Accidental order! Please cancel!” They answered that it couldn’t be cancelled and we’d have to pay to return it. To add insult to injury again, it’s not even on Amazon Prime and won’t get here until December 20th. And, of course, it’ll probably smell. And it’s made in China. So, we’re out $320 and our porch will be crowded with fake trees and, even if I manage to sell them on Craig’s List, my husband will be the one who has to deal with moving the trees, meeting the buyers etc. I honestly feel like I could take this all in stride, have fun getting creative and see the lighter side of this, except I’m just so guilty that my husband has to do all the work!

My new plan is this. I’m sure my landscaper hubby has a tall ladder:



Addendum: Just as I was about to hit publish on this blog post, my husband called me and said, “I’m in Home Depot. The artificial trees are all $300+ and most have fake scented pine cones. I’m standing in front of the tomato cages. They’re 5′ tall and cost $3.97.” Hahaha! Hell yes! I had sent him this photo as a joke:


We both laughed at the fact that we are going to have a wire tree that cost $3.97 and now I think this will actually be really ridiculous and fun. Happy Christmas! 🙂


13 thoughts on “Oh, Christmas Tree. Oh, Christmas Tree…

  1. mom says:

    Remember “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” when the kids have to catch a tree to be able to take it home on Christmas eve or Charlie Brown’s ‘sincere’ tree decorated with Linus’ blanket? Maybe the one arriving on the 20th will be perfect. You could make all your trees a feature in the from yard. People will come for miles….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Someone wrote an excellent post about this issue. This is a great blog if you don’t already read it. http://lindasepp.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/creative-less-toxic-and-eco-friendly-christmas-decor-ideas/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My comment got cut off again. I wanted to wish you good luck with whatever you decide to do for your tree and also to wish you no reactions. 🙂


    • Thanks so much for the link, I hadn’t seen that. I do love the trees against the wall with the hooks to hang ornaments. Very clever. I also saw a shoji screen with just a big print of a tree, which would be elegant. We decided on a tomato cage and no reactions! 🙂


  4. I think the tomato cage tree is inspired! I’m sorry to hear your sensitisation is on overdrive, I know how horrible that is. Hope you’ve got a dimmer switch for the fairy lights, that really helped me in previous years xxx


    • The lights we have on the tomato cage tree aren’t bright at all, it’s really just a lovely glow on the other side of the room. I don’t know what is going on with my senses. I don’t even know if half the smells that bother me are actually doing anything to me. The artificial tree was definitely messing with my throat, but all smells are SO LOUD — except my dogs. They can stink and I don’t even notice. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Solyssa says:

    Oh my, I love both the ladder and the tomato cage. So simple and I have both in my garage. My mom has a lovely little folding metal tree she puts up, I will see where she got it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. currankentucky says:

    I hope the homemade tree is a blast!!! Great idea. I love Christmas but last year and this year we just hang two socks from our mantle, that’s it re the festivities here!!! The first year, I spent three days decorating our fake tree and swore never again. So last year I told hubby if he wanted the tree up, he was to do it himself.. and that went on the long finger and is still on the long finger, haha! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jackie says:

    What a fun and happy ending to the story!! By the way, I agree that one click option is horrible. You can disable it!

    Liked by 1 person

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