Oh, Christmas Tree

I haven’t put up a Christmas tree yet.  Partly because I don’t know where in our little house to put it, partly because I’m afraid Beck will destroy it (and my nerves while he is at it), and partly because I am conflicted about what kind to get.

I have always gone the “real” tree route.  The weekend after Thanksgiving (or as soon as I could talk Dave into it) we would go pick out a tree and I would spend the next day decorating it.  Now though, I am reading all this Grinchy stuff about how Christmas trees take up to 12 years to grow and they are loaded with pesticides, herbicides and petro-fertilizers for those 12 years.  Plus there is the whole transport issue.  So people are saying to buy a locally grown, organic tree.  I haven’t priced those out, but I am guessing they are pretty expensive for something that is going to last a month at best.

There is the fake tree route.  Billed as lasting for years, they may seem an earth-friendly option at first.  But wait, what are they made out of?  PVC!  In California they even have to come with a ‘contains lead’ warning.  Hmm… not the best thing to be off-gassing into your living room or for little ones to suck on. If you already have a fake tree, go ahead and keep using it until it falls apart, but don’t buy a new one.

Next up, the living tree.  You can get pine trees or rosemary shaped like a pine tree in pretty pots in all sizes that you bring inside to decorate for Christmas then plant outside afterwards.  Most likely the best option for the earth and your living room air, make sure you get a tree or plant that will like living in your yard and follow the directions when you plant it.  I bought a little 1 foot tree last year at Trader Joe’s and put it up where Beck couldn’t reach it.  Unfortunately, I am not the best gardener and I let it die.  Oops.

Recently I stumbled across Feather trees.  These intrigue me.  Started in Germany as their pine forest were being depleted because of the annual Christmas harvest, feather trees are great if you aren’t all that concerned about the pine aspect and just want somewhere to display your favorite ornaments.  You can buy them pre-made or as a kit.  If you are clever and crafty and have an old feather pillow tossing around the house, you can even make one yourself.  Do a Google search and you will come up with plenty of companies selling feather trees.  Or you may be lucky and find a vintage one.  I am tempted.  What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “Oh, Christmas Tree

  1. Isabelle says:

    Of all the options you listed, I like the potted live plant one best. It doesn’t have to be an evergreen.

    My first Christmas living in New England, we couldn’t afford a tree, it was in the depths of the Carter administration with rampant inflation, hour long waits for rationed amounts of gas, and very few jobs available.

    I already had ornaments and lights, just no tree. We had wild stragly hemlocks growing under the canopy of pines and maples. I decided they needed a little grooming (pruning and shaping). OK they didn’t need grooming in the wild but I needed thier feathery branches for my tree. I clipped of branches in a discriminate manner in order to enhance the growth of the trees in the spring.

    I gathered up some baseball size rocks and put them in a five gallong bucket. I insterted the hemlocks boughs in a nice christmas tree arrangement. I placed the bucket on a little table in front of the window and filled it with lighlty sugared water. I proceeded to decorate my tree with my little collection of lights and ornaments.

    When my husband came home that evening and saw a brightly lit tree he was stunned. Especially when I explained where it came from. I made a hemlock tree for several years after that until my at home design business began to pick up and my husband had a steady job.

    Yes, I admit that we started buying the cut your own trees ($5.00 for a six footer). But each january my kids had the fun of dragging the now dried up carcass out to the fire pit and they had a nice bonfire in the snow. Eventually we succumbed to the store bought tree and it did last us for years. I have no idea what it was made of or whether or not we will one day all have cancer from it.

    Now we are back to square one, living on retirement in a tiney house.
    My solution? I have an five foot cactus in a large pot that sits in the center of my house. This will be my second year decorating it with lights and ornaments. You see, we moved from tree heavy New England to the spars short grass prairie of Colorado’s Front Range. We planted about two hundred two year old trees all around our property this last summer. We hope they survive.

  2. Julia says:

    You didn’t mention that you can buy a permit to cut down your own tree from The National Forest Service. The forest rangers designate an area that needs to be thinned to cut the trees from. This thinning helps the forest by allowing the larger trees to grow bigger and healthier and reduces forest fires. And the permit money is used to fund other forest projects and services. Plus it’s a fun family tradition. And you can’t get more organic than the forest.

  3. teresastips says:

    Good suggestion Julia. I didn’t know about the National Forest permit when I wrote the post. I did read about it a few days later though. I think if you live near a National Forest that participates in this program it is a great way to get a fresh-cut tree!

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