Because I am the type of person who starts decorating for Christmas as soon as Halloween is over and celebrates the holiday throughout the month of November, not having a Christmas tree in my college apartment was a big no-no. So, I did what any broke college student would do: I went to Target on Black Friday and bought an artificial tree at some ridiculously low price.
This tree is not my taste. It’s slim, it’s short, and it has those tiny white lights. When I go to tree lots with my family, I pick the biggest, fattest Christmas tree that will fit in our living room, and we decorate it with vintage-style Christmas lights in all the colors of the rainbow. I always was intent on replacing my Target tree as soon as I got a proper apartment of my own — I fully planned to buy a new, real tree every year.
It’s been five years with this cheap-o tree. It’s seen three cities and three apartments and survived a cat who considers dangling ornaments the ultimate toy. But, despite its sad state, it’s still around. And I’m going to put it up yet again this holiday season, despite declaring every year that I’m going to replace it.
Though I do feel a certain affection for my own little Charlie Brown Christmas tree (as I like to refer to it), my main reasons for keeping this ratty ol’ fake evergreen around are fairly practical. Did you guys know that freshly cut Christmas trees are super-duper expensive? At the tree lot in my Brooklyn neighborhood, a small tree will run you anywhere from $40 to $60. Then, I’d need a stand and lights to decorate the tree. That adds up really quickly! Why would I spend all that cash for a holiday decoration when I can use it instead for gifts?
So alas, I cannot ditch my 5-foot tall, $25 Target Christmas tree with its sagging branches and tiny, barely-twinkling white lights. Heck, I may even leave it up all winter long.
Carolyn Menyes is the entertain and holidays editor at The Daily Meal. One day, she aspires to have a Christmas tree decorated only with Disney ornaments. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.