Saturday, December 13, 2014

What's Christmas Like When You're Allergic to Evergreens?



Made in China. My kids could recognize those three words on any gold foil tag by the time they were 3 years old. And not in a sound-it-out way but an "Oh! Yeah. It all has to be Made in China for Mama for Christmas. Right, mama? Cuz mama's 'lergic to real things. Look for the tags that say Made in China, guys."

It took me years to figure out I was allergic to evergreen. I had no idea the itchy hands, burning eyes, scratchy throat, husky Demi Moore voice, were all symptoms of a Coniferous Attack on my body. Hard to believe, but here I am, to tell it.

We would bring home garland, ready to deck the halls, our car trunk full of boughs and red velvet for festooning, and no sooner did I began to swaddle and swirl the house mantle and bannisters, when I'd begin itching. Just like a Gold Bond commercial. Oh that darn itch, that darn itch. Pine trees made me suddenly 88 years old. I attributed it to dry skin, it was winter, after all, and we were outside running errands all day. So I'd go through bottles and bottles of lotion feeling temporary relief and then, right back to the burn and the itch. (sexy bit of writing here today, isn't it?)

Until we moved into this house. This lot has evergreens all over the back of it. I believe in live and let live, but there was this heavy bough on a pine branch that slapped my leg every time I was in the back of the yard, and the fresh thing had to go. I held it taut one day, while sawing at it with a rusty dull blade we inherited from the previous homeowners. About five effortless minutes of saw saw saw, and it was that darn burning itch like I had at Christmas. But in the day's light, I could see itty bitty bumps all over my hands where I was holding the evergreen.

Did we both just say it at the same time? Aha!

Evergreen! Evergreen is the culprit! I rushed into the house to tell everybody inside that I don't have winter eczema but an allergy to evergreen! Hmmm, go figure, no one seemed too astounded with this seismic shift to my life. To be fair, it was summer, and talk of garland and evergreen mantle swags don't get anyone excited in July.

Today, we have tubs of Made in China faux greenery in our basement. China's finest work, I mean, their finest, sits front and center in our front room. A Real Feel Artificial Christmas Tree, a glorious 9 feet tall branched prelit wonder, graces the corner of our house for the world to see.

I revere it, the kids respect it. We assemble it, top, middle, bottom, and fan out its branches. We stand back, and ooh and ahh while youngest plugs it in.

Fake? Naaah, sir, this tree is not fake. Fake is a word used for the plastic tree experiments of 1963. When you could see the sorrowful attempts of those that wanted to be modern and get a plastic tree. What was left standing after a multi-personned attempt at construction was something that looked like the one and only time my husband tried to save us money by giving our then 12 month old son a Flowbee hairchopcut.

No, our tree is no fake. What stands in our front picture window, is a life saving member of the family. This tree is as real as the beautiful non-itch of my hands.



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17 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. THanks, Ms. A. It is beautiful. We were lucky to find it.

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  2. You're "fake" tree is way more gorgeous than our "real" one.

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    Replies
    1. I love the look of a real tree, but as you read here, I CAN'T. xo

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  3. Pretty tree. Done well (which yours is), a faux tree can fool even the most staunch real tree advocate (my mother in law).

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    Replies
    1. Oh, well, MIL or not, I can't. Itchy, coughy, burning eyes, the whole rotten mess.

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  4. Your tree is full of heart and love...and that's the "real" Christmas spirit!

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    Replies
    1. Aw, thank you, friend. Merry Christmas to you! Thanks for stopping by this year, I appreciate it.

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  5. Your Christmas tree is beautiful-- so tall and regal looking.
    Glad you found an allergy solution that looks so great.
    Merry Christmas, jj

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Imagine, my kids not as thrilled as I was when I discovered it!

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  6. It's truly gorgeous, "fake" or not. :)

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    Replies
    1. THanks, Elaine. Merry Christmas to you!

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  7. My sister-in-law's mother-in-law (wow! holy hyphens!) is also terribly allergic to evergreen and since she visits them every year for Christmas, they cannot have a real tree. As in "one grown in the ground."

    You are the first person besides Patsy (that's my sister-in-law's mother-in-law's name!) I've heard of who suffered like this. It may be a compromise for the non-allergic family members, but wow does it make a difference.

    Enjoy an itch-free, beautiful holiday with your beautiful family and your beautiful tree.

    It's as real as the love that assembles it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, wow. I know, it is rare, but let me tell you, I can't believe how miserable I've been my entire life from it. When I figured it out, EUREKA. Happy Christmas and Merry Holidays, friend. xo

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  8. huh. interesting allergy...i miss having a live tree...
    but yours def looks wonderful...ours is probably made in china
    as well...ha

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    Replies
    1. MIC keeps me hive free (heh, B, look, I wrote a poem!)

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  9. Wow, I have always thought that I was the only person in the world with evergreen allergies. I get deathly sick, can't breathe, throat & eyes swell, hospital er visit sick. I was near de a th sick every Christmas until I was around 10 years old. My family will never forget the evening that we were all quietly enjoying our tree & we thought that my Dad had lost his mind. He jumped up, flung open the front door, unplugged the tree & threw the completely decorated tree out the door in the midst of a lot of crying & screaming. He cleaned the entire house, opened the windows to let the fresh freezing air inside & I started improving immediately. Nobody in my family has ever had a live tree since & I have never been sick like that again for Christmas. I've had tons of people think that I was stretching the truth over the last 50 years & this is the 1st time that I've ever heard of another person with evergreen allergies. Thank you for sharing this!

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