We're all adults here. Which is why, unless you have children, you should not have a Christmas tree.

Christmas trees are hassles. They're expensive. They're difficult to move around, particularly if you don't have a car. If you're doing it right and buying real trees, they get needles and sap all over the goddamn place. Then, after a few weeks, you throw them out on the street just like so many other things we've learned to own briefly and then dispose of in America. In short, Christmas trees are a messy pain in the ass, but they're a messy pain in the ass you deal with to please children, who are themselves messy pains in the ass everyone deals with in order to continue the species.

It's not the trees' fault, really. The reason Christmas trees are for children is because Christmas itself is a holiday for children. Spare me your Miracle on 34th Street schmaltz, lamenting the loss of the Christmas Spirit under grinding adulthood (though I do like that movie). Spare me, also, your assertion that your Christmas tree is in any way related to your devotion to Jesus Christ. That train left decades ago. The "Christmas Spirit" is a marketing gimmick, and Christmas trees in contemporary society are for putting presents under. If Jesus were to come back he'd probably ask why the hell you spent so much on presents instead of giving your money away to the poor. "And why are churches locked at night while thousands of people sleep on the streets in the freezing cold?" Jesus would ask. "Well, those churches are private property, Jesus," you'd say. And he'd probably be so confused and maybe a little mad.

I have no religion. I'm also ambivalent about the concept of giving people you love things in an effort to make that love manifest. But if I ever have children one day I'll get a Christmas tree and put presents under that tree for those children, just as my parents did for me, because I would like to give them a fighting chance at not becoming cynical. For now I'm childless, and thus I'm also treeless.

This is not an argument against gift-giving. If you're an adult without kids and you'd like to give another adult a Christmas gift, hand it to them. Do not put that gift under a tree whose meaning is, roughly, "We bought this damned thing because that's just what you're supposed to do at Christmas, for the Christmas Spirit and whatever!"

Especially strange are childless adults who buy Christmas trees and then aren't even in their own homes at Christmas, having days before left for their parents' house, their grandparents' house, their stepfather's house, their ski chalet. The tree just sits there, its stump exposed due to a lack of presents, weeping sap and questioning its purpose in life. "Was I really chopped down for this?" it thinks to itself in the dark. "To be some graphic designer dude's ritualistic accoutrement for a month or so before becoming trash?" What a sad life the Christmas tree has.

It being Christmastime and all, how about a quote from the Christian holy book to take us home: "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child; now that I am become a man, I have put away childish things."

In closing, Caity Weaver is wrong about this issue. Nevertheless, I wish her and you a very merry Christmas (if that's your thing).

[Image by Jim Cooke]