Daddy Fir unhooked the human from the roof rack. He waved to Baby Fir who was pressed against the window. Mummy Fir stood on the doorstep, looking anxious.
“A real one, darling? I thought we were going plastic this year.”
Daddy Fir scoffed. “Plastic? Not in my house! Real is the only way to go. It’s traditional.”
“But they make such a mess. Shedding hairs all over the carpet. It’s all right for you; you don’t have to clean it up.”
“It’s not that bad,” Daddy Fir hitched the unconscious human onto his shoulder. “Where’s your sense of the season?”
Mummy Fir crossed her branches. “It shrivelled and died the moment you brought that thing home,” she sniffed. But she stepped back so Daddy Fir could bring the human indoors. He carried it through to the living room. Baby Fir looked on in awe.
“I’ve got the pot ready, Daddy!” he pointed at the corner of the room.
With a grunt, Daddy Fir stood the human in the pot. The human flopped forward. Daddy Fir straightened him up and leaned him back against the wall. “He’ll perk up with a bit of water.”
It was true. The human woke up and looked around in horror. “Where am I?” he cried but his words were ignored.
“We’ll get a good couple of weeks out of him,” opined Daddy Bear, “before he dies. Then the Council will take him away and shred him.”
“Be careful on that stepladder, sweet!” Mummy Bear cried from the doorway as Baby Fir climbed up, holding a string of lights.
“I’m not a sapling anymore!” Baby Fir protested. He draped the lights around the human’s shoulders. Daddy Bear spread the human’s fingers.
“You can hang a bauble from each of these,” he suggested. “And a star from that dangly branch thing down there. Spruce him up a bit.”
While her menfolk decorated the human, Mummy Bear busied herself in the kitchen, making a batch of compost pies. Perhaps a real human wouldn’t be so bad. She wasn’t going to pine for a plastic one any longer. And what was a bit of mess if it made Baby Fir happy?
With the pies in the oven, she nipped up to the loft. If you can’t beat them…
“Ta-dah!” she sang, joining her husband and son in the front room.
“What have you got there, Mummy?” Baby Fir tried to peer into the box she had brought down from the attic.
“We used to put these up when I was a shoot,” she laughed. She pulled out a garland of human eyes and ears. “They’ll look lovely across the window.”
Daddy Fir’s branches curled around her trunk. “Merry Christmas, darling,” he smiled.