Thursday, December 10, 2009

Real vs. Fake: Finally a Woman's Opinion on the Matter!

Everyone seems to be pretty set in their opinion on these types of matters.  So I was wondering, what about faux Christmas decor vs the real deal? 

I used to be a 'fake' girl myself.  I had this beautifully large pre-lit tree with faux pine cones and all!  It was too big to bring with me to Australia, so we downsized to this smaller artificial tree for the first couple of years there.

We loved our view of Queen St. (in Brisbane) so much that we didn't seem  to miss a big tree!

Then last year my hubby (the king of great surprises) came home with the cutest REAL tree ever!  My very first real tree!!!  He and our good friend Chip had been ALL over Sydney and surrounding suburbs looking for a real one for me (Christmas tree farms are apparently not a hot commodity in Oz).  Finally they found one!  It was well, the only choice.  But it was an awfully cute choice ~ a short little fat thing.  I was SO surprised!

We decorated it all whimsically.  'Real' seems to bring out all the fun!

I have to say, after now having both, that REAL is definitely the best for me!  Mmmmmm, the smell... the look... hauling it home... it's all so fun and festive.  When it came to picking out our tree this year it was a no-brainer for us.  Real and TALL (sorry last year tree!).  I wanted a nine footer so we went before Thanksgiving to ensure that we'd get first pick.  (Don't worry, we're not your typical retail store... we stored it in the garage until after Thanksgiving!)

Ahhhhh... it's just the right tree for us!  Not too big, not too skinny.  We went with a red and silver theme for the ornaments.  It has exactly 100 ornaments on it now, which still isn't enough!  Charcoal dupioni silk drapes normally dress these windows; However, we decided to try red for the holiday!  I was nervous about this (too much red + too much green = too cheesy for me), but we went with a dupioni silk again which kept the sophistication of the room.  The 'red' drapes are actually a dark henna, which is a much richer shade.

We also went with real garland this year.  I love that I get to choose the length!  Most artificial garland that I was looking at came in only 6 ft strands.  We purchased this garland at Lowe's for just under $7 for 20 ft!  I was so excited that we decided to buy 240 ft!  I put it up the weekend after Thankgiving and (with the exception of actually putting it up) we haven't seen many needles laying around at all!

The garland is very 'workable' and you can easily re-wire it to suit your design needs.  I preferred to 'let it do its own thing' here and look a little messy (a.k.a. natural!).

The staircase railings were draped (instead of wrapped) with garland for a no-fuss feel (and a no-fuss effort!).  I love that the chandelier lights up the garland and that the garland sort-of frames the chandelier.

Here's a view from the inside.  Say 'Hi' to Santa!  Everything appeared smaller in this pic...he's actually pretty huge!  It's a canvas from Pottery Barn and probably my favorite Christmas decoration in our home.

Live pine can also add some warmth to an otherwise formal room.  Here I've tossed some extra strands into a wide vase and paired it with some berry branches.  (Yes, yes... I know that my table needs some serious work!  Just wanted to throw something together using the extra pine.  I decided to save this and all of my 'fun projects' for next week.  Any table decorating ideas that you would like to share would be great!)

The buffets also got an extra accessory.  I just love how thick and full the live garland is!

And of course it's floor-length!  I'm so happy with the look and feel of our 'real' garland that I think it'll make its way into our home every year!

The only downfall with the tree is its 'shedding'.  Luckily I have a dog that likes to shed a lot too... so pulling out the vacuum a few times a week isn't out of the ordinary for us!

And one last close-up of the tree branches.  Now if I could just find a way to do 'real' berry branches!

What's your take on real vs fake?  Thanks for listening and letting me keep it 'real'!

Until our next rendezvous ~


  1. Your house looks so "warm and cozy" *wink*

    Everything is beautiful!

    I am a real tree person although I grew up having both types. Mom always had the artificial tree. Which was great because she would do the chore of setting it up and putting on all of the lights while we were at school. Then we would come home to some warm homemade cookies & milk, Christmas music and get to decorate it exactly how we wanted it ~ It was so much fun! We even had those silver icicles, remember those?

    Then I would travel to my Dad's house in New York and we would go cut down the real tree. The memories associated with those times are snowball fights (which once led to Uncle Greg getting a bloody nose), and the smell of the pine and outdoors. It does seem to bring a sense of excitement/magic too!

    As I type this though I can't stop thinking about how the "magic" of the real tree changes as you become an adult. Now I think of how the needles hurt as you try to put on the lights and ornaments. Then cleaning up the mess, worrying that the water doesn't leak or spill on the wood floor. Having to put it up later in the season vs. an artificial and then taking it down before you travel (fire hazard). Funny how you don't think of those things when you are a kid.

    So my family has done the real tree every year until two years ago. My husband and I wanted our kids to have the memories of hunting for and cutting down the tree. So they have about 14 years of those memories!

    Then the kids hit the teen years and mom is really getting tired of the mess.... so here comes the artificial! It fits well in our life right now. My husband is traveling with his job right now so not here to go cut down the tree. The teenagers are driving now and not as into it. So mom gets to put it up early, take it down later and no mess!

    I look forward to the real tree making it's way back into my home someday. Maybe when the kids come back from college they will want the magic of going to get the live tree, snowball fights, hot chocolate. Then I won't even notice the mess because I am just happy to have my kids home. This will continue for the next 14+ years. Through bringing home college friends, spouses then grandchildren :) Then life will cycle again and out will come the artificial tree as my husband and I will be older and will be leaving our house to visit our children in their homes.

    So real vs. fake.... I love both!

  2. Joanna your house looks so beautiful and festive!

    We have a fake tree. Every year it seems to take longer and longer to put up. We have had it a long time so it is not one that is pre-lit that you pull out of the box and it snaps together.

    Growing up we always had real trees so I miss the smell of a real one. We got potted trees so we would always plant the trees around our house after christmas.

    I would love to start a tradition with our kids that we go and pick out and cut down our own tree. I guess we will see what happens next year. I will have a year to talk Toby into a real tree, I think he prefers the fake one.

    Love the Santa picture! It looks great on that large wall!