There’s a lot of debate about Christmas trees. Some people like an artificial tree for many reasons. They feel that it’s less messy because there are no pine tree needles from a real Christmas tree falling all over the floor when they put up a fake Christmas tree. Some say it’s more environmentally sound because no real tree is cut down and they reuse the same Christmas tree year after year. Others feel that an artificial tree is easier to assemble and take down every year. I appreciate all those reasons that fit other people’s lives. BUT I LOVE A REAL LIVE CHRISTMAS TREE!
Tradition. I’ve always had a real Christmas tree for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, we used to buy a Pine tree for Christmas – they are the ones with the short needles. I went with my Dad to the Woolco plaza parking lot and we picked out the perfect tree to bring home. Later, after I got married, I always bought a Scotch Pine with the longer needles which didn’t seem to fall off as much. We usually went out to a Christmas Tree Farm to cut our own tree but occasionally we bought one from a lot. When Marty worked at a garden center once, we picked a gorgeous Balsam Fir from their selection – we hadn’t intended to buy one already cut but we couldn’t resist the urge. One year when I was 9 months pregnant, we went out to a tree farm and picked the closest tree because I couldn’t walk too far – my poor husband was worried I’d give birth right there in the field! Hahaha – I waited until 6 days before Christmas. Some years, we went to a nearby Christmas tree farm where they had horse-drawn wagon rides and hot chocolate, but the commercialism of the entire operation began to nauseate me. The whole spirit of Christmas was becoming depressing from the beginning of cutting a tree!
So I scouted out another Tree farm that just sold Christmas trees (and homemade wreaths) – cut and cut-yourself – at a reasonable price. THIS is what I was searching for – driving into the tree farm fields, walking around (sometimes for a LONG time) to find that perfect tree, and sawing it down ourselves. Some years, there is no snow while other times, there’s lots of snow to trudge through. One year it was unusually mild around 0C degrees and another time it was -20C! You just have to dress for the weather to stay comfortable. There is plenty of room for everyone and the farm is never crowded like some other ‘wagon rides and hot chocolate’ Christmas tree farms.
I feel that Christmas Tree farms are very ecologically responsible. The farmers who grow these trees use hands-on, labour-intensive practices to grown and prune their trees – I remember my oldest son Robin working for a Christmas Tree farmer one summer, when he was a teenager, to prune them by hand. The farmer’s livelihood depends on the seasonal sales of Christmas trees. I support Farmers and I try to practice local consumption – Christmas trees are no exception. After Christmas is over, I take my tree outside for the birds to land on or find shelter in for the rest of the winter. Then in the spring, I cut off the branches and spread them around my blueberry plants. I’d say that’s environmentally sustainable.
All my grown children and their families who live around here will drive out to the tree farm this year: Nellie, Melvin, Sarah, Kristi, Mike, J, Josh, Taylor, Darin, Amanda, Kalia, Livi, Janet, and Frank. After a fun afternoon searching for our perfect trees, we’ll come back home for a nice warm supper beside the toasty, wood-burning cookstove. Our tree will have to wait till after supper to be brought into the house. I just love the pine smell from a freshly cut Christmas tree! Then we’ll let it warm up overnight before we decorate it. And again, it will be the best Christmas tree ever!