Wednesday, 5 December 2012

artificial vs. the real deal

December 5th: What parts of you are artificial or fake? What parts are the real deal? (and I'm not talking body parts here, I'm talking characteristics) Who are you at your most real?

We had a debate, my husband and I, over what type of Christmas tree to purchase this year. Our small artificial tree, bought 11 years ago at the Stouffville MCC Care and Share Thrift Store for $5.00, had broken.  So we wondered: do we go artificial or real?

Here was the conversation, as I remember it:

Him: Christmas trees are on sale at Canadian Tire.

Me: You mean fake ones?

Him: Yes - for about $75, we can have a tree that would last us until we die.

Me: But I don't think I want one tree until I die. I was really looking forward to having a real tree this year. I love the smell, and they're just so much more, well, real.

Him: Why would you pay $75 to cut down a real tree that you're just going to throw out after Christmas? (he doesn't shop for real trees that often, so he's exaggerating prices to support his argument)

Me: It's more environmentally friendly. I've read statistics that show that. Plus it smells nice and it won't lay in a dump EVER.

Him: [silence]

Me: I've been wanting a real tree for so long, can't we just have one this year?

Him: We could buy a real one and a fake one - we have room in this house for more than one tree. (this sounds like a great compromise, right?)

Me: I think that one is enough.

One day passes. Then I happen upon a "tree farm" set up last Saturday at our local MCC Generations thrift store. More than a dozen trees are standing up outside the store, just waiting to be bought and decorated. They look beautiful. They are fake.

I wrestle inside myself for a few minutes, then decide. This $35 will go to relief and development work. We'll have a tree that has had some merry Christmases in other houses before ours. I like that. A tree with memories. Plus, it will last us until we die.

So we have a lovely fake tree in our family room now. And everyone is happy.

not-quite-decorated tree,
but features 2 felted reindeer heads
that daughters and I created
But back to the question of the day: I am most real when I am creating or connecting with people. When I am doing work that I believe in. When I'm using my voice - either through writing or speaking or collaborating with others. When I'm reading to and praying with my kids at bedtime. I'm most fake when I feel I have to prove myself to others.

Another random thought that connects if you're in my brain: on December 1, 1055 Rosa Parks was arrested and fined on December 5th for refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white man, sparking the Montgomery bus boycott. She was the real deal.


  1. Laughed out loud at your conversation with Derek. So in the end you bought an artificial tree, but saved it from the dump, and did not really create more garbage and supported a great cause. Makes sense and you could still get a real tree every once and a while.

    I echo your most real and fake self comments. I especially feel I am most real when "creating or connecting with people".

    "keep it real" :)

    PS Love the felted reindeer. I have just recently taken to felting myself. May be some reindeer are needed on our tree too...

  2. I took a workshop at the One of a Kind show in Toronto - and loved it! I didn't know how simple it was - no sewing or knitting or anything. Just lots of poking. I'm sure you're cooking up some creative felted stuff...