There’s a story in my family history which centers around the real Christmas tree versus artificial Christmas tree debate and may or may not be true. (While I happen do it professionally, I’m not the only one in my family with a flair for fiction.)
The story goes something like this: my grandmother had a very strong fear of fire and would not allow a real Christmas tree in the house. Arguing with my grandmother was as futile as trying to catch rainwater in a colander. (Non-fiction.) Year after year, the family tree was fake.
Mothers have a tendency to say “When you grow up and have a house of your own, you can…”. For example, I grew up in a weird blue tooth gel household and, when I would complain I was told when I grew up and had a house of my own, I could buy white toothpaste. Needless to say, the Stacey household uses white toothpaste. Sometimes daughters just need to do things differently than their mothers did.
The first Christmas after my grandmother’s passing, I guess my aunt (who had stayed in the house to care for her ailing parents, so hadn’t yet had “her own house”) decided to do things differently and the family had a real Christmas tree for the first time. They put it up, decorated it and left the room.
The tree “fell over”.
These things happen, so the tree was righted and the decorations re-hung with care. The tree was shaken and wiggled and declared sturdy and level and secure.
Until it “fell over” again. Strangely enough, none of the artificial trees that occupied the same spot in the years to follow ever fell over.
I have an artificial tree. Not because I fear my grandmother’s ghost (I don’t think she knows where I live), but because the last time we had a real tree, it suffered some kind of premature needle loss. As I was dragging it outside, the branches caught on the living room doorjam and SPROING! I was vacuuming pine needles until spring. While I miss the scent of a real Christmas tree (thank you, Yankee Candle, for making the Mistletoe scent, which is close), I like the fact I can put the (pre-lit) tree up in November and not spend the holiday season picking dead needles out of my Shih Tzu’s tail.
What about you guys? Real trees or artificial ones for Christmas?
Christina Forrester is starting over. After a financial scandal sent her ex-husband to prison, she’s left raising her young son without any of the comforts of their old life. Budgets, coupons, lawn care—you name it, she’s learning to do it all on her own. Well, almost on her own—she’d be lost without Gail Broughton, the kind widow across the street. But when Gail’s son comes home, Christina’s vow to never trust a man again is put to the test.
Will Broughton left town because he was tired of being “that poor man” who lost his wife and unborn child in a tragic accident. But years have passed and, with his dad gone and his mom alone, it’s time to go home. Only his mother’s not alone. She’s taken Christina under her wing, and the beautiful and determined single mother awakens something in Will he thought was buried forever.
As Will and Christina are forced to spend more time together, feelings that are more than neighborly grow between them. And with Christmas coming and a child filling both houses with holiday cheer, it becomes nearly impossible not to embrace the joy—and the love—in their lives.
About the author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her two favorite activities are writing stories of happily ever after and riding her four-wheeler. She can also be found blogging (almost) daily on her website, and is often spotted running amok on Twitter and Facebook. Her current release, Her Holiday Man, is available now from Carina Press.