Nancy Roman

It Lingers Still

Ah, Christmas is so wonderful.  You just want it to go on and on.

And it does.

Picking up after Christmas can take you right into February.

Four years ago, I convinced my husband that we should buy an artificial pre-lit tree. He loves real trees. He was not enthused. But I convinced him that we would buy the prettiest one we could find, and it would be so much easier to put up and take down. I even let him pick out the biggest one in the store, as my husband is a firm believer in Big Stuff.

Ha ha on me.

This tree is so big that I strained my shoulder putting it back in the attic the first year. When I went to the doctor to make sure I hadn’t torn my rotator cuff, the doctor asked me why my husband wasn’t carrying such a heavy thing. Well, he was. He had the other end.  Our “easy” tree goes into two boxes, and it takes two people to carry each box. And obviously, it takes two people who are stronger than me.

But then again, the artificial tree is easier to put up than a real tree – once we get it down from the attic. Of course we have to bring up from the cellar the biggest ladder we have in order to decorate the top third.  I’ve thought about leaving the top third undecorated, but we already have to leave the bottom third undecorated, due to our fur children. So that would just leave a decorated swath in the middle, which looks strangely like the jangling coin scarf that belly dancers wear. Hence the ladder.

But the best part of an artificial tree is the lack of shedding.

Ha ha on me.

This tree – which cost more than 10 years’ worth of real trees – is so realistic, it drops needles as prolifically as the aforementioned ten.

And these needles are strangely eternal.

They stubbornly refused to be vacuumed.

It is now the third week of January, and AFTER I finished today’s housecleaning, my living room still looked like this:

photo (39)

Do you remember Rich Hall, from “Not Necessarily The News”? He coined the term Sniglet, for words that are not in the dictionary, but should be. (My favorite was McMmonia – which describes the olfactory phenomenon of McDonald’s having just washed the floor every time you go in.)

Anyway, there’s an old Sniglet for my artificial tree’s artificial needles’ stubbornness.


That’s when you pick up what your vacuum wouldn’t – but then you put it back down to give your vacuum one more chance.

But my vacuum won’t take the free throw.

It’s almost as if the vacuum repels the needles. Like negative energy, these needles go the other way when the vacuum gets close. Or when the vacuum goes over these little bastards, they pretend they are being sucked in, but then they jump out somewhere else on the floor.

I am beginning to think the vacuum is a naturalist. It lives on a diet composed of 97% cat hair and 3% garden dirt.  It does not want artificial junk.

At least when we had a real tree, vacuuming the needles made the house smell really nice.

Right into February.



  1. All so very true!


  2. My artificial tree is at least 20 years old. It also drops needles but now it is starting to drop whole “twigs” too! But the thing we love about it is that we can leave off the limbs on the back so we just have half a tree and push it up against the wall and it takes up less space in our small house.


    • That’s a great idea! But our branches don’t come off…. maybe with a chainsaw….


  3. Our artificial tree also sheds needles like crazy. But Wonderbutt kindly sucks up the waste. I LOVE that Sniglet – so perfect!


    • We have cats, but they puke up everything they suck up.


  4. Too, too true. I guess in the end you always have to pay (more). I’ve had an artificial tree for a number of years and am still finding ‘needles’ in April. Ugh.

    True blue Christmas tale and it won’t stop for YEARS! Terrific and true one, Nancy.


    • Back to a real tree, I think. With the cats drinking from the tree-stand.


  5. It is funny. We just keep trying and trying. My own “new” tree was bought at a church bazaar for $2.00 and is about 18″ high. The only problem as my 6 year old granddaughter says is “But where is the tree Santa puts the presents under?”


    • My nephew said that my mother’s tree was “pitiful”. I asked him how he would like to be 89.


  6. that happens at my house too – the vaccum almost repels the fake needles


  7. I have a Charley Brown tree. You know the type: 5 gnarled branches, 13 needles on each, angled trunk. The ornaments and one small string of lights live on it year round. I pop a garbage bag over it and stuff it in the attic for another year. I agree with you. Fake needles are worse than real ones. Comment by my grandson, age 4: That’s not a tree. It’s a stick! Sigh…


    • I wanted a little potted 2-ft Norfolk pine. My husband did not.


  8. Another fabulously funny post! We have gone through two artificial trees now and back to the real thing. 1st one was that tall variety that became just too much. 2nd was the right height but lost half its lights the 2nd year. Ah for the Christmas cleanup. Can’t wait til next year! 🙂


  9. This is hilarious! And too true!


  10. I feel your pain. You’d think it would be easier to vacuum a hard floor, but those stupid “needles” even stick to hardwood. Must be static electricity or something. But “carperpetuation” is funny enough to make up for some of the annoyance. 🙂


  11. “carpetuation” ha ha! That is SO true. I picked up a couple just the weekend from my artificial tree.

    I vividly remember us kids, down on our hands and knees in late January, trying to pick up the needles that had become tightly woven into the fabric of the carpet.


  12. yes – haha on you. we got an artificial tree after years of debates that almost led to divorce (can you imagine – over what kind of christmas tree for christ’s sake). it sheds. not as bad as i remember the real ones doing, but it does shed. and the vacuum does repel the needles just as you describe. it almost makes me miss the way our cat used to climb the real tree breaking as many ornaments as possible.


  13. Thank you Nancy, for giving me the opportunity to use one of those bits of trivia I know that I so rarely get to use:

    Bing Crosby used to keep his house decorated for Christmas year round. You might just want to consider it.


    • That’s a really good idea, except then I’d have to dust all that crap.


      • No you don’t. Pretend it’s a light dusting of snow.


        • Perfect!


          • Let me know if I can give you other suggestions on how to avoid housework.


  14. I bought my mother a fake pre-lite tree a few years ago. It was still in the corner when I got to Seattle last week. My genius brother didn’t know how to put it in the box. I did it for him. Hers is only 36″ tall and sits on the table top, drops needles onto the felt which I swoop up and stuff into the box with the tree.

    Sniglet, I learn something new today. Thank you.


  15. Before everyone get carried away here, I must make a stand for the real tree. I find most fake (let’s face it -that’s what they are) trees are a kind of Disnification of Christmas. What you don’t get is the smell of a real tree, although I am sure you can probably a spray can of it. Each tree is an individual – no one else in the whole world has got that same shape and configuration of branches.

    Then when christmas is over, we vacume up the needles. Why would people buy an artificial – sorry, fake tree that sheds its needle when the reason for not having a real tree was the abundance of needle dropping?

    Then we chop it up and burn it on our loverly open fire. No ladders in the basement, no telegraph pole in the attic. We’re living the dream.

    Nice story by the way.


    • My husband certainly agrees with you. I just thought it would be easier. I was wrong.


  16. Never ever heard of an artificial tree shedding needles! Funny why we make the decisions we do…and the challenges that can come out of it. Fun story!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: