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Letters: Ugly Christmas Trees

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Lynn Neary and Robert Siegel read emails from listeners.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Lynn Neary.


I'm Robert Siegel and it's time now for your letters, a holiday edition.


SIEGEL: Oh, Christmas tree, oh, Christmas tree, how ugly are thy branches. At least, that's what we heard yesterday from commentator Ken Harbaugh.

NEARY: His family brought home a beautiful Fraser fur only to have it come down with a case of - as he put it - ugly ornamentitis.

KEN HARBAUGH: My wife and I watched as our two children vandalized the tree's bottom half. Katie hung multiple bobbles on the same limbs, causing them to bend and bow as though as gesturing, why me? Ornaments were shoved directly onto branches, an angel dangling by its halo, a smiling Santa impaled through the nose.

NEARY: Well, Cheryl Cox(ph) of Tallahassee, Florida, sees Mr. Harbaugh's one Christmas eyesore and raises him two. Three ugly trees, as she described it to us.

SIEGEL: There was the ugly artificial that sat in the foyer decorated with poinsettias, camellias and gold, glittery pine cones. There was the formal tree, a live one, in the living room decorated with all kinds of feathery birds and angels until we got a cat. And, finally, there was the kids' tree down in the family room, a silver relic from Grandma's mid-century modern period. It was covered with as much ugly as three girls could annually manufacture.

NEARY: But no matter how much ugly was heaped on that so-called silver relic, Ms. Cox concludes...

SIEGEL: I wish I still had that tree.

NEARY: We did have one listener ready to make the switch from tacky to tasteful. Candice Burkhart(ph) of San Diego, California writes, with kids grown and gone and the old ornaments passed on to their families, it was time for the designer tree, a gorgeous Fraser pine. Unfortunately, despite regular watering, it has already drooped to that crispy critter stage and the cat has stalked and murdered all the ornamental elves.

SIEGEL: Well, it seems we're too late for the elves, but as for the droopy tree, we'd like to offer Ms. Burkhart a few comforting words from "A Charlie Brown Christmas."


CHRISTOPHER SHEA: (As Linus) It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.

SIEGEL: And we always love to hear from you. Write to us at and click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page.


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