I have a soft spot for certain artificial Christmas trees. Big time.
When I was a kid, there was a new housing development in town a couple of miles from the gritty neighborhood we lived in. I got to know some kids from the development in school and I would occasionally go to their homes. They were the first brand-new houses I had ever been in; I thought the homes palacial and the neighborhood elite and out of reach.
At Christmastime, many, if not most, of these homes had artificial trees, not the kind that looked real, but aluminum or white-flocked ones. Some were illuminated from below by a light that would change colors and make the trees look magical. The ones that were white-flocked often had identical ornaments. I remember one flocked tree that had neatly spaced matching round red orbs against a field of white. Often the base was surrounded by a bed of so-called “angel hair”–spun glass that could actually hurt your hands.
To my junior high school eyes, these trees were the height of Christmas elegance and taste. So clean, uncluttered, so modern. Those homes–and those trees–became symbols of a better life, one that was prosperous and presentable. They were symbols I downloaded and carried with me for some time.
There is something about this time of year that can make you feel like a kid, so my thoughts go back to those fake trees of old. True, they gave no scent of pine or gentleness to the touch, but they dazzled me anyway. I still love ’em.