There are two types of people in this world: Real and fake.

You may be the kind of person who puts up their Christmas tree the after Halloween, ignoring Thanksgiving all together. You might be the kind of person who waits until December to decorate, or the type who leaves their tree up well into January. But generally, people either have a real or a fake Christmas tree and often whichever way you choose, it was often the way they were raised.

I’ve almost always had a fake tree. There was the one Christmas when my mom decided we’d stray from our norm and go to a friend’s tree farm and pick one out to cut down. I remember breaking down in tears as I watched the man with the chainsaw and cut down our tree. At 10-years-old, I felt horrified that I was killing a living thing — even if it was just a tree.

After that, we went back to fake.

In college, I trekked through the woods with my cousins on a family farm in Vikersund, Norway. We hunted down the perfect tree, cut it down as it was starting to snow, then carried it back to the farmhouse to decorate. As we drank mulled wine and ate fruit-shaped marzipan, the idea of cutting down a tree for Christmas didn’t bother me as much.

But I still prefer fake.

As a kid I remember laying on the hardwood floor of the living room, looking up through the dark green branches of the Christmas tree and the lights that glimmered through the plastic needles. It was the tree that my sister and I ran to each Christmas morning to see what Santa brought us. It was the tree where we hung our Hallmark Christmas ornaments that our mother bought us each year, along with the ornaments that our grandparents brought back from their trips abroad.

When I think of my childhood Christmases, there’s always that tree.

Almost three decades later, it’s the same tree that I put up in my own home now. The tree is hardly realistic looking — its dense “branches” poke out large, pipe cleaner-like needles. The tree frame, made of metal, has rusted with time, and if you don’t stand the tree just so, it leans to the left like it’s weary from years of use.

I feel you tree, I do.

Made in the mid-1980s, the tree isn’t pre-lit, because there was no such thing at the time. Instead, each year I have to unravel the tangle of stringed lights, plugging them in to see if they still work, sorting out the lights that do and those that don’t. My 8-year-old daughter knows that her job as Mommy decorates the tree is to hand me the lights as we go round and round, tucking them into the prickly branches beyond view.

As we were putting up our tree this week, I thought of how nice a pre-lit tree sounded. I’ll admit, I browsed new trees online and even went by a local home improvement store to compare. The trees looked so much more real, compared to my stiff, cone-shaped, giant pipe cleaner tree.

But the nostalgia got to me. And so, I decided to give my old tree at least one more year, to see if I can dress it up. I put up more lights than normal, bought some new ornaments, new glittery floral picks.

The morning after I decorated the tree, my three kids woke up and sleepily stumbled into the living room. The face of my youngest daughter, who is 2, lit up as she saw it. She beamed with excitement and jumped up and down, twirling in circles as her confused brother and sister looked on.

“It’s CHRISTMAS! It’s CHRISTMAS!” my toddler proclaimed.

Old tree or new tree, real or fake, it doesn’t matter. But my youngest daughter’s face reminded me of my own reaction at Christmas so many years ago, and it convinced me. I think this old tree still has some life left.

— Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News. Reach her at lydia.seabolavant@tuscaloosanews.com.