Sunday, November 25, 2012

Holiday Gift Ideas -- "The World's Best Prelit Douglas Fir" from Hammacher Schlemmer (Review)

Hearing that you cancer is never easy, especially around the holidays.  This is what happened to me back in December 2007.  I received the dreaded phone call from my ENT doctor shortly after 2PM.  As he began to tell me that my biopsy from a recent adenoid/tonsil surgery, where a mass was removed from my throat, tested positive for cancer, I felt myself go numb in shock.  For a minute, I couldn't talk or move.  I was lucky I didn't drop the phone.  Beyond the words "You have cancer," I don't remember much else he said.  When he was done talking, I said, "Thank you for letting me know."  I was surprised I mustered up enough strength to say this.  He said he had set up an appointment for the next day to meet with the local hospital's oncologist.  Because it is a small town hospital, they didn't have specialized oncologists.  I wrote down the time and location on a sheet of paper, and hung up the phone.  I then cried for a few minutes before calling my husband and parents to tell them the news.  I asked them to rush home to be with me, as I didn't/couldn't be alone.

As I waited for what seemed like forever for my husband to arrive home from work, and for my parents to drive the 1 1/2 hr. trip to my house, I just sat on the couch in the family room crying.  In just a minute your whole world can be turned upside down.  Just the night before, my husband and I talked about trying for a child in the new year.  But, now, that thought was wiped away, and fear began to set in.  I wouldn't find out until after the scans were done in January that I had stage 2 nasopharyngeal carcinoma, as the cancer had traveled to the lymph nodes in my neck.  As I sat on the couch staring off, I kept seeing a twinkle of light.  I turned in the direction of the light and saw the Christmas tree I had put up a few days earlier.  I don't know about you, but there is something magical about a lit-up Christmas tree.  In that moment my eyes met the tree, a sense of calm came over me.  Even though I had just heard the worse possible news, I knew everything would be alright.  Now, four years out of treatment and a few hospitalizations and scans with new masses on follow-up scans, I can say I am one year away from the five year mark, where they will call my cancer in remission, and my survival rate goes up to 80%.  In addition to four years out of treatment, I also have two beautiful daughters, which the doctors said I wouldn't be able to have.

But, during the entire three months of treatment (March through May 2008), I kept the Christmas tree up.  Every time I looked at it, it made me feel a little bit better.  Even on those days when I was really sick and couldn't muster up the energy to walk on my own to the bathroom or kitchen, I could still take in the beauty of the Christmas tree.

Now, I was never a fan of a real Christmas tree.  With dogs, I didn't want to chance them drinking the water or peeing on it, or have to continually pick up dead pine needles from the floor.  So, I always chose a fake tree.  If you have owned a fake tree, then you know that over time they begin to break down -- the lights either bun out if it is a pre-lit tree, or the branches begin to break off, from packing and unpacking year after after.  When it came time for me to pack up our Christmas tree, a few of the branches broke off.  I knew that the following Christmas I would need to buy another tree.  And, when the time came, the tree selection at the stores was less than appealing.  The trees were not full, and the light didn't look like they would last long.  We needed a tree, but I didn't want to settle for one of these.  So, I put up the tree that saw me through my cancer treatment, turned it to face the corner and hide the bare spots where the branches broke off and decorated it.  With St. Jude ornaments I had bought after treatment.  So many children with cancer with for one last Christmas, and with my purchase of these ornaments and my annual donation, I knew I was making their lives a little brighter, as was my time during my treatment looking at my Christmas tree all lit up.

It took four years to finally find a tree worthy of calling it our Christmas tree. I was sent "The World's Best Prelit Douglas Fir" (6.5' Full LED) from Hammacher Schlemmer to review for my holiday guide.  

"Molded from a live Pseudotsuga menziesii, this is the world's most realistic Douglas Fir, meticulously strung with the best LED lights.

Unrivaled Realism

Available exclusively from Hammacher Schlemmer, it is the only tree with three-dimensional, injection-molded branch tips that replicate the exact growth patterns, cascading branches, and fine, soft green needles of a freshly cut Douglas Fir. The tree has 40% more branch tips than typical trees, creating a fuller, more natural looking tree that requires less shaping. The inner branches and trunk are lined with broad fibers to bolster the conifer's fullness, a material overused by lesser trees. The longer branches are made of 18-gauge wire, the strongest available, and easily support large ornaments.

The Best Lights

The World's Best Prelit Douglas Fir tree has LEDs that last 25,000 hours--8X longer than typical incandescents while consuming 98% less power. LED lights produce the same traditional warm glow, and if a bulb is broken or burns out, patented technology ensures that the rest of the strand remains illuminated, backed by The Hammacher Schlemmer Lifetime Guarantee. White or multicolored lights. Includes metal stand. 6 1/2' Douglas Fir. Full Width. 800 LED lights and 2,162 tips. 57" Diam. (48 lbs.)"

On the same day I found out I was receiving the tree to review, four years earlier I was told my scans showed no signs of cancer.  Again, I teared up, with tears of joy.  And, when I put the new Christmas tree up Thanksgiving night with my mother, the LED-lit tree sparkled and caught my eye.  Again, the magic of a Christmas tree brought a calming feeling over me.  And, as I stood gazing at our new tree, I was greeted by my oldest daughter, who hugged my leg as she exclaimed, "tree, tree, pretty tree."  Now every day she looks forward to seeing the tree all lit up, as do I.  And, I know that next year when they tell me I am in remission, this pre-lit Christmas tree will be shining bright in the background, and for many more years to come.

So, with the holidays only a few weeks away, why not consider replacing your artificial Christmas tree, which has probably seen better days with a pre-lit tree from Hammacher Schlemmer.  With a variety of trees, styles and sizes to choose from, you are bound to find the perfect tree for your family.  What better way to celebrate the holidays than with a full, realistic, yet artificial tree, that does not need watering and will last for years?

Click here to check out the selection of artificial Christmas trees from Hammacher Schlemmer --  The hard part will be choosing just the right one, as they are all so beautiful, and will make your Christmas magical. :-)  I want to thank the folks at Hammacher Schlemmer for sending me one of their pre-lit trees for review, and for making my family's Christmas that much brighter. :-)

Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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