Tom Shillue: Why I love a fake Christmas tree

There seems to be some controversy in the “fake versus real” debate on Christmas trees. I proudly stand for fake trees. I don’t need any judgments from you “naturalists.”

I know all the arguments in favor of the real tree: a real tree is more authentic, it smells nice, and it reminds you of the old days when you and your Paw would go out on a frigid December morning with axe in hand and chop down a tree yourselves. But I don’t think you ever did that, did you?

My chief problem with real Christmas trees is the needles. They get everywhere. They are a mess and they have a way of lodging themselves deep into all fabrics. By March I’m still pulling them out of my wool sweaters and socks.

“But the smell!” you say, “I love the pine-fresh aroma.”

My chief problem with real Christmas trees is the needles. They get everywhere. They are a mess and they have a way of lodging themselves deep into all fabrics. By March I’m still pulling them out of my wool sweaters and socks.

Well, they make an artificial version of that too, in a spray can, and it works just fine. I’ll believe you if you tell me you can smell the difference, but I don’t think it’s worth the needles in the socks.

And I don’t like the process of buying the real tree. I never trust those nomadic Christmas tree villages that pop up everywhere just after Thanksgiving, manned by some strange character who looks like he should be named Yukon Jack in the trailer.

I’ve always wondered: Does Yukon Jack sleep in the trailer for the whole month?

Then comes the haggling process, followed by the pathetic sight of me trying to tie the thing to the roof of my car.

When I was a kid, one of the things I looked forward to every Christmas was going up to the attic and dragging the artificial tree out of storage. We’d haul the box downstairs and assemble it while we were watching a holiday movie on TV.

Row by row, we’d stick the fake branches into the fake tree trunk. It was a fun family project. There was no shame in it, because, of course, everything in the 1970s was artificial – coloring, sweetener and turf, to name just a few examples.

Artificial tree technology was still in the early stages back then. The wiry branches didn’t look much different from the scrub brush that we used to clean our toilet. But once you got the whole thing assembled and decorated it with lights and ornaments, it looked real enough. We loved it.

My conclusion: Christmas time is all about rituals, and the ones you grew up with are usually the ones you appreciate.

So I love a fake tree. If you are a hard-line lover of real trees, we’re just going to have to respectfully disagree. And these days, isn’t that good enough?

Tom Shillue is host of The Tom Shillue Show, live Monday-Friday 3 to 6 PM ET, featuring comedic insight and analysis on the days trending topics as well as interviews with special guests. Shillue is a stand-up comedian and former host of FNC's Red Eye, he joined FOX News Channel in 2015 and remains a contributor to the network.