First of all, what’s the meaning you want to create for yourself and family and the message you want to send to others? More and more people are decorating a living tree in their own yard, or bringing a small live one indoors to decorate and then replant outside later. I had one friend who has built an evergreen forest in his yard, one tree at a time. The message is conservation, and the living trees in his yard carry the meaning of each holiday season for ward year after year. Don’t want to buy? You can even rent a live tree in Portland, Oregon from the Original Living Christmas Tree Company - they replant them for you in sensitive areas to conserve water and soils.
If you choose to have a cut tree indoors, a locally cut or one you cut yourself will be fresher and last longer. Don’t feel too bad about cutting a tree from a tree farm, any more than you’d regret cutting a stalk of broccoli – they are grown as a crop, and new ones are planted as the more mature ones are cut, continuing a natural cycle. Avoid the big operations that cut those weeks ahead of time, ship those long distances, wasting fossil fuels and spewing carbon into your holiday air. When you are done with the tree, place it outside and hang popcorn, suet, and other treats for birds and wildlife- some will also shelter in it. If this is not possible, or when you have to get it out of your yard, break it up or chip it, and use it as mulch in your walkways, flower beds or gardens. Apartment dwellers, see if a friend in the ‘burbs or country will take it and use it up. Don’t send it to the landfill. Or you can contact the National Christmas Tree Association about their recycling program – they take old trees and reuse them as habitat, mulch, rebuilding sand dunes on beaches and restoring the Louisiana coastline to prevent future Katrina catastrophes.
For city dwellers. A better choice might be an artificial one. But who wants petroleum based tree in the house, even if you will use it year after year? A better bet might be a Buro Tree, made from reclaimed wood, or make your own tree from recycled materials.
A Mountain Dew Tree from green and red Mountain Dew Cans - the site shows you how to make your own, and after drinking all the Dew, the sugar and caffeine buzz will give you the time and energy to do it.
But whatever you do, keep the spirit and message of the holiday out front. If you need a reminder, you can go here to watch Charlie Brown’s original tree video. Ho ho ho!
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