A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Visit From St. Nitpick-las

Smallville: Lexmas

How about a Christmas-themed nitpick?

In the Smallville Christmas episode from last week, Lex has a vision of a future where he's renounced his quest for money and power, and is instead married to Lana and living a middle-class lifestyle. Early in the episode, Lex takes his son (named, appropriately, Alexander) to get a tree on Christmas Eve. Alexander convinces Lex to buy a rather large tree, and when they get home, Lana expresses some brief disapproval over how much they've spent on the tree.

My sister's birthday is December 18, so my family has always bought our tree during the week prior to Christmas. Sure, we didn't get a whole month to enjoy fallen needles and pine scent, but there was a financial bonus: Christmas trees get cheap the week before Christmas. Last Sunday, my dad picked up a tree at Home Depot that had been discounted from $30 to $15.

I presume that the Christmas tree economy operates more or less the same in Kansas as in Georgia. After all, the Christmas tree is a commodity that has a certain value up until December 25, but is just plain worthless after that date. Sellers want to unload their supply before they're stuck with an unsellable and unsalvagable inventory. So trees get discounted, and by Christmas Eve, when Lex buys his tree, they ought to be practically giving them away. For fun, stop by a tree lot tonight and see how much the trees are selling for during the waning hours of Christmas Eve.

Then again, we never actually learn what Lex paid. Maybe future Lana doesn't understand the Christmas tree market, and is irked with Lex for no reason.

This reminds me of an idea my family has tossed around for years, but has never followed through on. If you'd like to have a more cost-conscious Christmas, simply move the celebration to a later date, such as Epiphany. Then you can take advantage of all the post-Christmas sales, the heavy discounts on wrapping paper and decorations, and get a tree for nothing at all.