This is the cardboard Christmas tree, which is an environmentally sustainable product that is available online.
The regular shopping outlets online continue to urge customers to buy buy buy!
According to AOL shopping, "A faux tree is frequently favored by the frugal, because after a year or two of use- the artificial tree would have paid for itself. If you're one of the millions of Americans who decorate fake branches year after year, you might be someone who values convenience too-- once an artificial tree is completely set up there's no extra maintenance required to keep it pretty."
I have an artificial tree because every year between Christmas and my birthday (March), I would get incredibly sick. I had bronchitis for the entire time, and I broke my rib twice while coughing. This began at Family Service, where we got dozens of trees donated, and where I carried trees back and forth to people's cars, or, in one famous case, went to retrieve a stolen tree from a house a few blocks away (prompting Gilbert to draw the famous enraged Amy in red heels cartoon, carrying the tree back, which really happened). It was a big deal to me to go pick out our own tree, and I remember well the strife between Michael and myself. He wanted as small and sparse a tree as possible -- I wanted the giant ceiling-touching behemoth. One year, behemoth won out, but the base was too thick to fit in the Christmas tree stand. Mike then used his hatchet to hack away, turning the base into a reverse cone-shape. Of course it wouldn't stay up in the stand then, so we then turned to the giant plastic bucket filled with rocks method, and Mike anchored the monstrosity to the wall.
After he hurled it across the living room.
But that was then - this is now. One good thing about knowing Alan is that he's got this allergy alert thing. It goes to an extreme, but there was one thing he was right about. I am deathly allergic to most Christmas trees. I wasn't sick with a flu or cold from Christmas to March every year. I had Christmas Tree disease. As soon as I, with great reluctance and many tears, went to the artificial tree and wreaths, I was no longer sick. I haven't been sick at Christmas for ten years. I can't say that I miss the real tree any longer, because age and remove from the allergen means that I can get sick just walking through Lowe's or Home Depot and the bins of cut wreaths.
This is, of course, the authorized replica of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, which Mike and I actually had when we lived on Cajon Street (not really, but that was what started the Christmas tree annual tug-o-war over "small" vs. "big"). The same place where I found this item also offers a Festivus pole.
Advertising is growing more desperate by the minute this year as the economy weakens, so these unusual items and gag gifts may not fare so well. My shopping list is pretty simple, but I also plan to get as many gifts as possible online (although must go shopping this afternoon - whee!).
At dinner Friday night, there was a nice lady at the end of the table who was discussing how ignorant friends actually thought that a Hanukkah Bush was real. I even send Happy Christmukkah cards, but those are NOT intended to be "real" but rather to make Jewish friends smile. No, Virginia, there is no Hanukkah Bush. The problem is probably best-portrayed in the opening scenes of "Hebrew Hammer."
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As of the other night, most of us in the older generation concluded "We all ran with scissors." Yes, and Meredith was kicked out of the YMCA for, and I quote, "Licking the sole of her shoe." Obvious deviant four-year old behavior. A very serious-sounding group, W.A.T.C.H. is a nonprofit organization that strictly times the release of its annual "dangerous toys" list. That's right, they are so concerned about child safety that they actually specify a launch date for their list. So woe to the kids whose parents buy those toys before the list "launch date." So, as the child who not only ran with scissors, but who also whittled, hunted with a .22 and a pellet gun, and who spent hours hiking alone in remote locations between ages 10 and 15 or so --
These plastic "spiral copters" are identified as "like slingshots" by the W.A.T.C.H. organization, which also selects a fluffy pink poodle doll with long, pink angora hair as "dangerous" because the child could pull the hair out and ingest it. Now, I routinely made my OWN slingshots from sticks and rubber bands, and I used rocks, not plastic copters as projectiles. This one, in true "Christmas Story" style, "can put your eye outttt!!!!!"
As a mother who lost a baby due to a home accident, of course, child safety is of paramount importance. But it seems to me that this toy warning list is like a Freakonomics situation. In Freakonomics, Steven Levitt points up that statistically, children are far more likely to fall victim to swimming pool accidents than they are to gunshot wounds from finding and playing with a gun in their own, or others' homes. And statistically, it is the same with these toys, most likely. Were children MORE likely when I was growing up to "Put their eyes out"? Possibly, but not to the extent that these "warning" organizations indicate. We can't "world-proof" our kids, and in fact, some harm is being done today by overcautious parents whose children don't even play outside, and who have no coordination due to playing no outside stick and ball games (that copter might do some damage, but I recall being hit several times with large rocks, a baseball bat, and a baseball). A kid could pull fake fur out of any toy and swallow it. I also swallowed dry cleaner's plastic and nearly died at age 2 -- yes, the type that says "warning, this is not a toy and may suffocate small children." Yes, exactly - my grandfather's clothing was hanging over a chair, which I do remember, and the rest, I don't remember, but obviously I played with and swallowed the plastic, and in my grandmother's description, "was blue and cold" when she found me - and it nearly did kill me. And my daughter nearly drowned in 1 feet of swimming pool water approximately 3 feet from me while I was physically watching her. I watched her begin to sink under the water and she had immediately swallowed and inhaled water when I ran in, scooped her up, and carried her fireman style to the family's bathroom where we were visiting, and all the water came up while they called 9-1-1 and I did baby CPR. We are talking of a matter of 3-4 seconds under the water and it was the most uncanny thing I'd ever seen.
I think my point being - worry about the real dangers - not about the toy list.