Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Cost of Christmas Trees

Who needs a pickup truck? Not I.

I've always been conflicted about buying Christmas trees. There are pros and cons to anything, and Christmas-tree-buying is no exception.

On the pro side, Christmas trees are inexpensive, smell DAMN good, and.... well... that's about all I can think of. On the con side, the same trees are sticky, create a huge mess of needles each year, require daily watering to avoid becoming a fire hazard, and are usually lopsided. Plus, I just feel really terrible about cutting down a tree for the sole purpose of hanging man-made shit all over it, practically torturing it, as it slowly dies in my living room.

It would seem, by my list, that the cons outweigh the pros. However, the "cheap" issue holds a lot of weight. Then again, what is "cheap"?

When Christmas trees could be bought at Home Depot for a decent $17, I never would have considered a fake tree. After all, there are a lot of cons to fake trees, not the least of which is how bloody fake they look. But when trees sold by the exact same Home Depot suddenly rocket to $28, an increase of 40% in one year, fake trees look all the more appealing.

Is $17 cheap?
Is $28 cheap?

What if you had to spend $17 every year until the end of time? Is $600 cheap? What if it was a one-time cost, and the tree would last until the core of the earth turned to ice?

Fake trees can be bought for as little as $50, and as much as $600 in my city. The $50 trees resemble plastic garbage bags while the $600 trees look like Danny McGee (who was up his 59th tree) just cut them down a few minutes ago.

Suz and I considered a $500 tree which Sears had on sale for 50% off. At $250, it would take 9 years of real-tree purchases, assuming the $28 price remained constant, to pay for itself. But if prices continue to rise by 40% per year, in only 5 years real trees will cost $150.

In the end we decided we couldn't afford an extra $250 this time of year. We settled for the $28 tree and rammed the 8-foot bastard into the trunk of the Snore-us.

Even without a fold-down rear seat, the SHO swallowed the tree like a pro. It was a heck of a lot easier than what we had to do with the Crapalier last year. And by this time next year, we'll hopefully have a very lovely fake tree.


Blogger Rainypete said...

I like my real trees and think they smell a heck of a lot better than the off gassing plastic that accompanies a real tree that first year of ownership. Plus you never get the possible thrill of accidentally smuggling a squirrel into your home with a plastic tree (although maybe some of the poorly treated overseas workers who make them might stow away in the box).

1:41:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

Speaking of surprises from afar.... my parents bought a JVC TV one year, and nestled inside the box was an open package of Mexican cigarettes.

2:30:00 PM

Blogger Norma Haacke said...

I knew a girl with the initials SHO in high school and she could... oh never mind...

4:06:00 PM

Blogger ms. creek said...

here's how i see it...
i bought a very nice artificial tree 6 years ago for 120 bucks. it payed for itself in more than one way--
--one in the forest would take several hours to harvest and we all know time is money!
--the past 6 years i would have spent 180 bucks plus another 30+ bucks a year from here until i die
--THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT IS THAT I SAVED A TREE! I HATE THE IDEA OF KILLING TREES! but...you say...they are already killed! let me say...supply and demand...if you don't buy, they won't cut...it's all we got, folks!

6:03:00 PM

Blogger patti_cake said...

We always buy a real tree. Just a family tradition I guess. I do heart eh smell of a real tree.. Ahhhh.....

6:52:00 PM

Blogger stillfindingnemo said...

Ha! We put up the ginormous artificial tree my mom just bought (and then proceeded to downsize her housing...making the ginormous tree unusable to her). And I had to rearrange the furniture to do so.

I can't wait to have a real tree again next year.

9:45:00 AM

Blogger TheatreChick73 said...

I was in the same place this year. Couldn't afford a decent fake tree but wasn't sure I wanted to get a real tree (environment and all). Might I suggest my plan of attack?

Four words. Day after Christmas shopping. All fake Christmas trees will be even cheaper! So that $250 one you were looking at may be as little as $100 then. My mom got lucky with this tactic a few years ago and has been extremely happy with her fake tree ever since.

2:32:00 PM

Blogger Chana said...

linen and things here has a tree that is 7.5 ft tall and with over 850 lights..it has a remote control to make it all white and all colour..and over 1200 tips i think...it looks good and it was 240 down to 130 and with a 20% discount it was a great deal...and i am finicky about fake looking trees and so i can say it looks beautiful in my living room...but no good deals beat the sweet smell of a real tree..

2:41:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

850 lights? Geez-a-loo! Sounds great! I think we have a plan: DACS! But we might even take a trip over to Buffalo and check ou the American trees on sale.

11:41:00 AM


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