Saturday, November 30, 2013
This Holiday Choice Could Save a Life
We are tree-lovers over here. Our girls have been known to hug trees in true California-girl fashion. Last week, we were driving home, when I noticed a large tree at the end of our block had suddenly been cut down. "THAT'S HURTING NATURE!", my daughter exclaimed. Each time we got in the car for the next few days, she let us know she was still in mourning. We all were.
It is very important to me to teach my children that we are stewards of the Earth. This can be quite a challenge, living in an apartment in a big city, but we manage to do our part. Last year, when we went to pick out a Christmas tree, we had just experienced another tree drama. Tree trimmers had shown up at the little grove down our street and hacked off the lowest branches of all the trees. There was one particular tree that the girls could climb on their own. It had a long, undulating branch their father would swing them up onto and he would help them jump down. They were heartbroken when they realized it was gone and each day when we drove past it, they just asked "Why?. It was as if we had lost a pet. The tree was alive and there was no reason for it not to exist in their world anymore.
So flashback to the Home Depot parking lot and we found ourselves at a crossroads: to our left was the fenced-in pen of Christmas trees fresh from the farm, cut and ready to be tied to the car roof, decorated and admired for three weeks, only to be cast off and thrown dead in the gutter a month later. To our right, was a small display of Living Trees. A few 3-foot saplings planted in pots displayed meekly next to some grills on clearance. It was a moment of truth---would I cave-in and bring home something that was sure to set the mood seen in all the magazines and commercials? Surely, if we had a 6-foot tall tree posing majestically in our front room, Christmas would be cozier, Santa would bring more presents, everyone would feel more...well....Christmas-ier. A plastic tree felt like a better possibility, but a tree made of chemicals didn't feel right either. So we headed over to the little potted trees and picked one out. It was our first "Charlie-Brown" tree--we couldn't get our fancy antique topper to stay on it, so we made one of paper, we used a total of two strings of lights around it. But, just like the end of the Peanuts Special, once we got it all set up and decorated, it was beautiful. And it was alive and would stay that way. After we rang in the New Year, it took up residence on our patio, where it has filled out a bit. This year, instead of buying another tree, we bought a bigger pot and some extra soil.
Are you up for the challenge this year? We were able to find living trees at both our Home Depot and our local grocery store. If you really want the glamor of a big tree and live in California, you can rent a living tree from Living Christmas. They will drop it off and pick it up for you. If you have no space to raise a potted tree after the Holiday, consider donating it to a school, church, scout group or park. Artificial Christmas trees are generally oil-derived and not recyclable, so consider giving this gift to your family and Mother Earth this year.
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