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Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Faux tree comes with a bunch of new rules


December 02. 2012 5:29PM

I have been informed by the home office that a new domicile involves new rules. For the most part, I'm Jake with that (an expression from another time). But an artificial Christmas tree may be a bridge too far.

For one thing, I'm told that you aren't supposed to tag your fake tree in advance of bringing it home.

In the olden days, you could make a scouting trip to the tree farm, look over the offerings, and tag your tree. Come back the next weekend to harvest it, and your newly cut tree would be that much fresher.

Apparently, freshness doesn't matter with a tree made of pipe cleaners. (Bonus points if you not only recognize what movie references such a tree, but you know what a pipe cleaner is.)

I'm also informed that the people at the store would prefer you not put a tag on one of their faux trees, unless it's a "sold" sign. They also prefer that you not vigorously shake the tree as a needle-shedding test.

I can see why. The fake fir in our living room shed just like a real one when I slammed it down.

Still, I'm wondering how I will know when to take down such a tree. With the real thing, when it turned brown, it came down.

Further confusing me: the lady of the new house says we should keep things simple and not accumulate a lot of "stuff."

Correct me if I'm not mistaken, but I have heard from friends that you are supposed to hang onto this kind of tree, forever.

It's like a Twinkie. Okay, then. At least we will save space if we keep the lights and trimming on the tree year-round as well. Maybe I can keep it upright in the basement; and I can ditch all those ornament boxes.

Which will mean more room for my lunch bag.

"Where is your little lunch bag?" the lady of the new house asked the other day.

"Little" seemed to me an odd description. When I lug this thing to the office, people think I'm going on a trip.

"Is that a carry-on or are you going to have to check that thing?" someone once asked.

It has just dawned on me that maybe I can store the fake fir in the feedbag and brown-bag it to work. It's a Christmas miracle!

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