Oh Christmas tree, Migraine Triggers Do You Bring Me!

The family returns home from picking out the largest, greenest, most perfect tree. The treasured ornaments have been removed from the attic to be lovingly hung. And, miraculously, all the lights work the first time they’re plugged in.

It would be a scene out of a cheesy Christmas movie if not for one thing: that dreaded build of pressure that will culminate in blinding, debilitating pain. The scent of evergreens is one of your migraine triggers.

Strong scents are among the most common migraine triggers for chronic sufferers. Luckily, unlike hormonal and weather changes, they are among the migraine triggers that can be avoided with careful planning. Those who are able to avoid their migraine triggers have been found to suffer far fewer migraines.

If pine scents are among your migraine triggers, you do not have to eschew this symbol of the Christmas season. There are many alternatives available. A few options for those who love the holiday look of a Christmas tree, but could do without the migraine triggers:

Opt for an artificial tree

There are many artificial trees that look extremely realistic. You can even choose your preferred species of pine. If a more modern and playful look works for you, check out the wide variety of multicolored trees. You can get ones that are purple, red and striped. Even many people who do not get migraines like artificial trees for their convenience and the cost savings over time.

Opt for a low-scent live tree

Varieties such as Leyland Cypress have a far lighter pine odor than other species. This tree has the traditional “Christmas tree” shape, but a very light scent and attractive, feathery branches. It’s a highly-sought variety in Southern climes. As a bonus, the softer needle shape means no sharp needles poking your skin while you are trying to decorate.

Choose another type of tree

There is no law that says that a Christmas tree must be a pine. You can choose whatever sort of tree speaks to you. Some people in warmer climates use a potted palm in place of pine. Others decorate aficus that can be used after the holidays as a decorative indoor potted plant. Still, others might choose a fruit tree to later plant in the yard. A new fruit tree each year can become a treasured family tradition that gradually builds a family orchard.

Extend your interpretation to other types of decor

Consider the creative and stylish “wall trees” featured on sites like Pinterest. Artistic folks use everything from pinned up ornaments to washi tape to doilies to create the classic conifer shape on a large, blank wall. The decor creates a focal point in the room and a great spot for holiday presents. As a bonus, it’s a great option for those dealing with small spaces or those who wish to avoid the shed needles and dust of the real thing.

Make sure that you, and your family, are able to share the season together, even if it is without one of the usual holiday symbols. In the end, remember that holiday cheer and family tradition should not come at the expense of your health. If even mild scents are potential migraine triggers for you, it is better to go without it and be able to enjoy family, friends and fellowship during the holidays. With everything else that makes it a special time of year, you may never even miss the tree.
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