Monday, December 19, 2011

Do you fake it?

(Christmas tree with aloe houseplant nearby)

This time of year, I always feel a little conflicted about Christmas trees, particularly our Christmas tree.

As a gardener and all-around plant nerd, I feel rather guilty about cutting down a living tree. And we don't just buy one that was already cut down and is being sold by the Boy Scouts or some other charitable organization. We actually go out and cut down a tree (albeit from a Christmas tree farm, not some unspoiled forest). Even though it's from a tree farm, I always think "this tree might have made it one more year, adding more oxygen into the atmosphere and providing a sheltered spot for birds to rest on its branches."

At the same time, as a gardener and all-around plant nerd, I love having a real Christmas tree. The smell of pine is intoxicating as it fills the house, and I get to lovingly water my temporary houseplant every day. A plastic tree just isn't the same, and a petroleum-based fake tree kind of epitomizes all that is wrong with the over-commercialization and insincerity of 21st-century Christmas.

As someone who cares about the environment, how can I cut down a perfectly lovely, living tree that was sequestering carbon and providing oxygen? Conversely, as someone who cares about the environment, how can I support buying and owning yet one more plastic thing that will eventually end up in a disgusting landfill?

So do you fake it with a Christmas tree, or do you get the real thing? Am I reading too much into Christmas tree options? Either way, it certainly looks nice...


Sissy said...

Rose, I get the most out of the tree we cut. Just hours after Christmas, we haul the beast out to the yard and hang bird feeders in it. It will stay there till the needles are all brown and it serves as a safe haven for tiny birds from the hawks. It is my favorite thing about the dumb tree!

Rose said...

I wouldn't feel guilty at all about your real tree--they are grown to be cut down and consumed, much like the crops in the fields or in our vegetable gardens. Sissy's suggestion is a great way to add another use to the Christmas tree as well.

We bought an artificial tree quite a few years ago that I still put up every year. I miss having a real tree, but after many years of getting a tree late and mishaps with misshapen trees...well, I could do a blog post on that topic:) Anyway, the artificial tree is simpler for me to do all by myself.

I hope you and your family are all ready for the holidays--wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Lea's Menagerie said...

We have had real trees in the past, but now we have a nice looking fake tree. Actually, we have three trees in different sizes. We only put up one each year depending on how much decorating we want to do - smallest one this year! After Christmas the tree and ornaments are carefully packed back in thier boxes. With three to choose from, they have lasted much longer than if we had only one and used it every year.

I agree with Rose - trees grown on a tree farm are like any other crop - they provide income for the grower.
And as Sissy said, move them outside after Christmas for the birds to enjoy!

Merry Christmas!

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