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Wilton Mom Banishes Pine Needles

If your Christmas tree is already dropping pine needles all over the floor, you might want to take a leaf out of Maureen Judge’s book. She switched to an artificial tree about five years ago and couldn’t be happier. Maureen, husband Michael and their two sons, Alex and Chris, live in an old barn on the southern edge of Wilton. “Our street address is actually in Westport. It’s very confusing.”

“I used to get upset that we were cutting down a live tree every year,” Maureen says. “It was a nuisance remembering to water the tree. And it was a pain getting rid of the dead tree after the holidays.” She used to drag it to the end of the garden where it would eventually compost itself.

Maureen looked at quite a few fake trees before picking her seven-footer. “The cheaper ones didn’t look very real, so I picked a better looking tree that was quite expensive,” she says. “And it came with all the lights attached so I didn’t have to bother with all those strings,” she adds. Five years later, the lights all still work, which can’t be said about most of the strings we wrangle around our trees.

Putting up the tree takes all of five minutes. It comes in three pieces that slot into each other, and it has its own stand. A few minutes fluffing up the branches and... Bingo. You can start hanging ornaments. When it’s fully decorated you’d be hard pressed to determine the Judges' tree isn't real.

Does she miss that lovely Christmas smell of a fresh cut pine? “No, you can always throw a pinecone on the fire,” she laughs. “And I certainly don’t miss having to sweep up all those pine needles. Even after five years I still find them in the cracks between the floorboards!”

OK, folks, let’s hear it! Who’s switched to an artificial tree? Leave a comment below or email me at

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