Friend faces disapproving looks while considering an artificial tree at Walnut Creek’s Target

My friend was telling me about how he had gone into Walnut Creek’s Target the other day and was in the aisle looking at artificial trees to purchase.

He is Indian, and he says that, among friends and family who have come from that South Asian nation to the United States, it is common to put up a Christmas tree, but one that is artificial. In his view, it’s more economical in that you don’t have to buy a new one year after year.

Well, apparently he had gone looking for artificial trees at Targets and other stores in and around Fremont, where he and his wife live with their newborn baby. Not an artificial tree to be found down there, but, as he notes, Fremont is home to a large number of Indian immigrants. So, presumably, those other Indians snapped up all the artificial trees in stock.

During a lunch break from his job in Walnut Creek, he stopped in at our local Target.

There were a number of artificial trees to choose from. But, he reports, he was getting some “dirty looks” from other shoppers. And he wondered if it was because–gasp–he was considering buying an artificial tree!! He was violating some kind of holiday fashion code that says “Thou shalt only put up a real tree in your home.”

He said, laughingly, that he called his wife in a panic, saying he was afraid to buy one in Walnut Creek. I could see him worrying about being run out of the store by members of the Walnut Creek chapter of the Church of Martha Stewart Living. (Speaking of Martha: have you made your homemade popcorn garland yet?)

He concluded that no one in Walnut Creek buys artificial Christmas trees, but I suggested one market for them would be our residents of Rossmoor and other seniors, who perhaps wouldn’t want to deal with the yearly hassle of buying and putting up a fresh tree.

In any event, my friend left Target empty handed. Maybe he’ll have better luck this weekend, and feel more comfortable buying one closer to home.

22 thoughts on “Friend faces disapproving looks while considering an artificial tree at Walnut Creek’s Target

  1. “but I suggested one market for them would be our residents of Rossmoor and other seniors, who perhaps wouldn't want to deal with the yearly hassle of buying and putting up a fresh tree.”

    Wrong again SM!!! This is one senior who would not even consider having an artificial tree in my home! As a matter of fact, I have seen more “store bought” trees in younger peoples homes that in those of seniors. They don't have the time or patience put up a fresh tree so head to the attic to get one out of storage.

    The tradition of going to Tobys to pick out our annual Christmas tree is one that we will always maintain. I may have downsized from the 13-14 footer I used to buy but a fresh tree is very important to us as is our yearly visits with Tom at Tobys. Wonderful, fresh trees at good prices.

    No fake tree for these seniors!


  2. Although we used to regularly spend way to much money for real trees each year, my husband and I (we're early 40s) broke down and bought a beautiful artificial tree a couple of years ago. We're not contributing to deforestation — although Christmas trees are grown expressly for that purpose — and we are reusing the tree each year which cuts down on consumerism. We do buy one or two evergreen garlands to give the house that new tree smell. Everyone wins. Can't we all just get along?


  3. We'll see if I'm wrong about seniors finding artificial trees more convenient. Personally, I can't imagine ever wanting an artificial tree. I love that evergreen smell in the house.

    My grandmother never resorted to an artificial tree, but she definitely downsized, so that she'd have a mini tree in a pot that she could place on a table in her house.


  4. We put up several beautiful fresh evergreen wreaths (thank you Costco) along with our artificial tree. We get the smell and our “tree” holds up the whole season. I prefer the fresh but our artificial tree doesn't affect our celebration of Christmas.


  5. I had pretty severe allergies to many types of trees and plants growing up and we always had artificial trees (the allergies weakened as I got older). The artificial trees were just as festive. Santa even left presents under them!


  6. Is your friend on medication? Seriously.. I doubt anyone was looking at him funny for buying a fake tree? Geez… weirdo. Paranoid much?


  7. As a 72 year old, I must weigh in on this subject……FRESH TREES ONLY!

    It is all about tradition…in my younger days when children were small, a day spent searching for the perfect tree at the tree farm…later years after kids were grown, lunch out and a short trip to our favorite tree lot as a couple.

    Each year I rekindle the excitement of my own childhood as the fresh fir tree is placed in the house and treasured ornaments are lovingly removed from their safe boxes and carefully put on the tree. Listening to the Messiah and Christmas Carols while decorating fills one with warm feelings and certainly the Spirit of Christmas as I breath in the wonderfully fresh scent of the tree.

    As a lover of Christmas, I love decorating the house and tree for my children, grandchildren and friends to enjoy. When all is done, I thank God for giving me another year to do something that gives me so much pleasure and allows me to share with others.

    Somehow, unboxing and dusting off a fake tree each year would not provide the same wonderful renewal of my lovely memories of Christmas' past.


  8. Christmas is only one day a year. I wonder how many folks who buy real trees for “greener” reasons actually practice greener living. Electric cars, recycling, etc. Or, not purchasing any other plastic items in their homes or offices. It can be quite a challenge.

    Wonder if their are any fake trees made out of bamboo?

    Funny topic.


  9. Many people cannot have fresh trees because of asthma and other allergies.

    I enjoy a fresh Christmas tree. I would also enjoy visiting the snow and escaping in the beauty of a natural forest of trees somewhere.


  10. For some of us, it's also a matter of living space. For years, when living in a jr. 1 bedroom in SF, I would buy a fresh tree that was about 3 or 4 feet high and decorate that with ornaments and lights. It fit the bill, and it was the right size for me to carry 5, 10 or 20 blocks from the neighborhood Christmas tree lot to my home.

    Over the years, as more Christmas tree lots disappeared, I switched to relying on a fresh wreath or other greenery for that wonderful fragrance, supplemented with other types of displays around the apartment or (now, my condo in WC) of ornaments and lights, including white lights all along my condo patio.

    To each her own! Just so long as everyone can have some festivity and beauty, in whatever form.


  11. Your friend should not care about people looking at him funny…buy one! Maybe he was reading too much into what people were thinking. Some of those artificial trees are pretty nice! While I love fresh, to each his own.


  12. It was on the news that plastic trees have been shown to contain high levels of lead. The lead can come off the tree just by touching it. Lead is shown to cause development problems and in high levels it can cause mental retardation. It is especially dangerous to small children where even a small amount of lead can reduce IQ and harm mental development.

    Most people don't realize that lead is used to soften the plastic and make it flexible. Little children like to touch everything and they always seem to put their hands in their mouths.


  13. Plant an evergreen, (I have a Norfolk Island Pine-8 feet tall), in a large pot on a wheel dolly. Put it outside 9 months of the year, bring it inside for the holidays/winter. Great to decorate, authentic smell, then move it outside for patio enhancement.


  14. I finally broke down and bought an artificial tree of Craigslist. It's ten feet and beautiful. I got tired of the real thing drying out the ornaments falling off before Christmas. I live in Walnut Creek and used to live in Fremont. I love them both.


  15. I have terrible allergies (to many species of trees among other things). I get severe migraines if I have a real tree, so I've had a fake one for years.

    There are many reasons why people get fake trees, and only a fool would judge another person for buying one.


  16. Uhm, if your friend is letting looks by people at target determine what he can purchase, whether or not he gets a real or fake tree is the least of his worries. Tell him I'll buy it for him for $5 tonight.




  18. I snapped up an artificial tree at the Walnut Creek Target some time ago because it looked like they were selling out.

    I'm not a senior – I'm just an empty nester sick of dealing with live trees. I love my new fake tree and I expect it will look just as nice as a real one when I get around to decorating it.

    Apparently lots of people like artificial trees because they were a little low on stock 2 or 3 weeks ago.

    Maybe your friend had soup on his tie.


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