The Christmas nightmare of my youth is coming back to life. Thanks to my stubborn wife, Colleen, we are bringing nature into our house this holiday season. Yes, for the first time since we’ve been married, she insists on getting a real Christmas tree. Seriously, what was the problem with our fake tree, Colleen? Why do you want to incorporate all of the hassles a real tree will bring? I am already dreading all of the headaches this will bring forth. Maybe I can hire a deranged arsonist to burn down all of the Christmas tree farms in Northern Nevada. It’s my only escape from this nightmare, which will undoubtedly send me up the proverbial Christmas tree.

So, you may be asking, “Caleb, why do you hate real Christmas trees so much?” In return, I would respond, “Give me one reason why anybody would bring something from the dirty and detestable outside world into their sanctuary?” I can give you a thousand reasons why it’s so, pardon my eighties slang, “grody to the max” to bring a real Christmas tree into our home, but I will save you time and give you the top three reasons why I, Caleb Townsend, hate real Christmas trees so much, and without further ado… on with the countdown.

Sitting at number three for the twenty-seventh year in a row is the mess they bring into the house. Tree sap dripping off the trunk on to your plushy carpet is the equivalent of plopping a whole cotton candy on your freshly coiffed bouffant hairdo. Why would you do that? You’re never going to get it off, but surprisingly there are two bigger reasons why I hate real Christmas trees.

Sitting at number two for the thirty-first year in a row is the burdensome job of putting ornaments on the tree. It takes seven years and seven nights to delicately place all of the ornaments on every branch, ensuring there is an equal amount of space between them and that they are all color coordinated. If a blue bell is next to a red angel, it is imperative to yank the angel off the branch and replace it with a blue gingerbread man. I realize 99.9999 percent of the world’s population doesn’t care how the ornaments are arranged, but I am the 0.0001 percent who does care.

And sitting at number one for the rest of eternity is, what else, establishing the tree at a perfect 90-degree angle. It’s hard enough straightening out the artificial tree we have stored in the garage, but I would have an easier time flying to Italy and correcting that annoying tower in Pisa than leveling off a real tree. I will not be satisfied until that tree is straighter than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is a next to an impossible task, and Colleen is expecting me to do this in one day. If this is not grounds for divorce I don’t know what is.