Monday, December 7, 2009

Why Fake Trees are the BEST Trees

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I grew up with the wonderful tradition of cutting down our own trees…hiking through snow up to our knees in search of that perfect one.

When really after 3 hours of cold, wet snow – anything will do.

Rick and I decided our first year of marriage to continue in that tradition and envisioned many happy years of visiting the tree farm, or trekking out in the woods to pick out our family tree. So our first Christmas, we decided to visit our local tree farm in search of the perfect tree.

It had been an unusually warm fall/winter season, which should have our first indicator to prepare for some….well, company. We found a lovely 8 foot tree and cut the tree, had it shaken to make sure any dead needles {and possible critters} fell out, strapped the tree onto our car and traveled home to decorate our beautiful find.

Bliss, I tell you. Pure bliss.

Almost one week went by with our lovely tree fully decorated in our living room, white lights twinkling. One night before I was getting in bed, I saw a strange shadow – almost a flicker, on the wall. It looked like a wisp of smoke. I quickly ran to the tree, searched and sniffed it, but didn’t see any fire.

But I did see a teeny, tiny bug. So very cute.

And then I saw all of his brothers and sisters emerging from the center of the tree. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Baby praying mantis’ had hatched from our tree and were crawling out to sit and warm on the white lights of the tree.

Sweet, no?

My husband and I quickly yanked all the ornaments and lights off the tree and threw it outside onto the deck and we pulled the vacuum cleaner out to madly suck up all the little critters that were now climbing the walls to our vaulted ceiling – towards the warmer air. We were standing on the back of the couch, trying desperately to reach the ones that were high, high up. Protected species or not, those critters were getting out of my house!

We later found some “safe” pesticides, sprayed the tree down and let it stay nice and cold outside for a few days. We removed the rest of the nest and then brought the tree back inside to decorate it. Again.

Two days later, another nest hatched.

We were pros at stripping a tree, so it landed on the deck in record time and we didn’t even bother taking the lights off this time. We just figured the neighbor’s kids would love the sight and bought new lights and a pre-cut tree that year.

Despite the fact that I pictured our family taking an annual trip to the tree farm, we now make an annual trip…to our basement. To pull out our beautiful pre-lit 8 foot tree. Which can be put together in less than 5 minutes.

No bugs included.


  1. WOW how awful.. at least it was just praying mantis's. I read somewhere else where someone had spiders all over their living room from their tree.. EEEEKK I would DIE!!! I am so thankful for my pre-lit artificial tree.
    Sorry you had to go through that. I would have been horrified.

  2. Hahaha! I've heard more than one praying mantis babies in a tree stories. Best was my boyfriend's sister's a few years ago. They got their tree home and left it for a bit before decorating it. When they came back into the room, they suddenly noticed thousands of spiders of varying sizes were all over the room. They tried to get the thing out the door but couldn't round the corner, so they threw open the window, grabbed a hand saw and she and her husband started tearing apart the tree and throwing pieces of it out the window, Melissa screaming the whole time. Didn't take long for the neighbors to show up and ask if everything was alright (they lived in townhouses). The farm was nice enough to give them a refund, which they used to buy an artificial tree lol.

    My family prefers our artificial tree, mostly because the cat won't climb it and I'm not allergic to it.

  3. ewww..another reason to have a fake tree. We have had both kinds, but have gone with the fake for the last several years due to the kids' allergies. After reading this, however, I think we'll stick with the fake one! haha

  4. LOL!!! We just bought an artificial pre-lit tree 3 years ago and absolutely love it. We just burn pine scented candles to give it that "real" feel!

  5. Ummm... I might just move out of my house if that happened! lolI'm so not a fan of bugs

  6. Oh. My. Goodnesss. I would've died! Although I'm laughing right now as I picture you and your hubby frantically ripping off ornaments:)
    The first year Vince & I were married I talked him into cutting down a cedar on my grandpa's land. It was a lovely moment, all captured on film. Then we got the tree back to our small apartment. Trees sure do look smaller when they're in the woods:) We had to give that one away--you couldn't walk from one room to another. It was like the Griswolds! We ended up at Lowe's. Great memories though!:)

  7. Wow! That is horrible. I definitely would have freaked. We've had a live tree for 15 years with no bugs. Plus never at my parent's house for years before that. I wonder if it's just a matter of time....Ewww. We don't cut our own tree though. My husband picks up one from a tree stand on the way home from work. Maybe they've been sprayed??

  8. oo thats the worst! I have had good luck with trees.. Well a few have died but no critters or bugs! I just cant miss out on the smell of a Christmas tree!

  9. Eek!! And, fake trees = no sharp needles to step on. I love my fake tree.

  10. I lol-ed...what year were you married? In 1998 or 1999 Darrel and I had praying mantises hatch from our tree. Same year? It gave me the shivers, still does when I think of it!

  11. hahaha...and to say I am so envious of those who can put real trees in their living room. :)

  12. I would probably still be recovering from that in a padded cell somewhere! LOL!

    We had real trees while I was growing up, until one year we left town for the weekend and the tree leaked all over the handmade train track my Dad and I had spent days on! We had made real looking tunnels, trees, snow, everything. Only to come home and find the board completely soaked an warped.

    I had never heard most of those words my Dad said that night! LOL!

  13. This is the second post I've read today about this awful experience!! EEEEEKKKK. This just gives me great reason to stick with our fake tree.

  14. Oh. My. Gosh!

    I can't believe you brought it in a second time! You know, we got our tree a little over a week ago and it is already dropping needles all over the place. I think fake might be the way to go next year.

  15. But they were PRAYING...

    ha ha, you can slap me now.

    I don't know how I missed this post when you put it up, this is an awesome story ;-).

  16. I no longer have any of those guilty feelings nagging at me from having an artificial tree. Thanks!

  17. How terrible! I would hate to have that happen. But it's a great tale. haha. I haven't invested in any tree yet. We are on our third Christmas together married and still don't have a tree. I did invest in artificial garland last year, though.

  18. You know, I STILL think of you guys and your bug tree every year when we go to buy our tree. And I pray silently that we'll get a bugless one.

  19. Ha, this is too funny!!!! We always had real trees growing up and my husband always had fake trees. As much as I wanted a real tree when we got married, he won out and we got a fake one and have been using it ever since. We were talking about possibly getting a real one next Christmas, but after reading this, I think it is out of the question!!!

  20. OH MY GOSH!!! You have just confirmed why I will never get a real one. :) That is horrible!!

  21. My mom's best friend found a snake in her tree one that was bought already precut, not from the woods or a now my parents have an artificial tree.


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