The first question to ask oneself, right now, is "Am I a Christmas tree type of person?" If you are, read on! If you're not, read on, too, because you may find yourself becoming one. Tim Donnelly writes in the New York Post today of various New Yorkers' Christmas trees this year, options of which "vary sharply by neighborhood." This is a geographic thing, within and outside of New York City! "Singles in the East Village tend to want short, skinny firs for their tiny apartments; others want evergreens that will last past New Year’s while they travel out of town; in Park Slope, of course, they seek out organic specimens. The folks in Cobble Hill come out with the whole brood to make it a family experience, work gloves and all."
It's all about personal taste, apparently, and every person (and tree) is his or her or its own butterfly. Donnelly goes on to profile several different types of trees. For instance, the tiny fake one that you can buy in a drugstore, that holds maybe one ornament without bending under the strain, i.e., the "Charlie Brown" tree. This is good if you're traveling for the holidays, don't have a lot of space, and hate cleaning up, but still want to feel moderately festive. Upon your return it won't have shed needles or dried out, because it is fake. What this says about you: You are a planner, and have a small apartment and access to a Duane Reade. Also, you might have faintly ironic tendencies, and probably think kittens and puppies are adorable.
Then there's the nightmare Christmas tree, which you purchase fresh from the street and is beautiful and smells good for a while, but you leave it up until February, by which point praying mantises have hatched from eggs laid on the branches (this happened to someone, writes Donnelly; it can happen, egad) and you have to throw the whole thing away and feel rather unholiday-ish, though of course by that point it's Valentine's Day. What this says about you: You march to the beat of your own little drummer boy/girl, and we're not coming over, no thanks.
You can, if you're trying to prove something, like how high your ceilings are and/or how ginormous your apartment is, get "a 12-foot wonder delivered from Brooklyn to the 1,800-square-foot SoHo" pad you share with your fiancé. And make it all pink-and-purple-themed to make up for the praying mantises (this was the same tree owner, a year later). Or, if you live in another giant SoHo loft and haven't experienced insect-tree troubles, get a 9-foot tree that barely fits in your elevator (this happened, too): "Luckily, the delivery company had a handsaw in the truck, so they spent 10 minutes on the floor of the apartment cutting about 2 feet off it." Decorate it with "local ornaments." What this says about you: You are fancy and also a problem-solver.
There are other options, too: You can also get "his-and-his" or "his-and-hers" trees, one for each member of the beautiful couple (this says you're a couple!), or you can pile some books up to make a "tree" with them if you don't really have a bookshelf and you also don't really have room for a tree (this says you have books!). The lesson is that you can make or decorate a tree with whatever you have hanging around the house in medium or large quantities: stuffed animals, for example (designer Lela Rose decorates her tree with 300 Steiff animals, but you could, we are sure, use them as the tree itself). Or, pillows, or sugar packets, or sports paraphernalia, or old coffee grounds. Antique ornaments carefully packed in bubble wrap during the rest of the year, or old pizza boxes (because you love pizza), or homemade noodle ornaments, or store-bought contemporary/ironic ones. Whatever you love, put it on your tree, and then your tree is basically an extension of you, and it says "I feel Christmas-y" but in your chosen way.
Or just don't get a tree of your own. Go outside and stand amid the fresh cut trees bundled for sale and breathe in deep of that piney air. Less cleanup, same spirit. This says you are no frills, but enjoy Christmas all the same, and also, who wants to haul a tree out to the street when the holidays are over? That's just the saddest, and you are a person with emotions like rivers. What kind of tree-Yorker are you? (We like the Charlie Brown one.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.