The Rant: A Monday Morning View - Save A Tree
You didn’t really think you would get through the holiday season without A Monday Morning Rant about Christmas trees, did you? Well, I didn’t want to disappoint so here we go.
This is a subject near and dear to me. You may have already guessed that I am a tree hugger. Trees give me joy. My heart breaks when storms destroy trees so as you might imagine, when people do it, it makes me slightly crazy.
So today, I’m going to rant about tree farmers who get rich growing trees and cutting them down for the sake of a dollar and, we’re going to talk about some alternatives to cutting trees for the holidays.
They’re on every corner in my city, those dastardly tree farmers. They’ve set their stands up and decorated with those pretty little white lights and evergreen wreaths hanging in clusters with bright red bows. And then, there are hundreds of trees, cut off from their life source and slowly dying. Surely I’m not the only one that grieves for them. Am I?
I understand the Legend of the Christmas tree and I appreciate tradition. Honest, I really do. I just can’t help but wonder how the tree farmers sleep at night after murdering the very trees they gave life to when they planted those little seedlings so long ago. Those trees have provided shelter for the birds and ground squirrels, they have filtered carbon dioxide from the environment and release healthy oxygen back into the air. Over 30 million trees are cut every year to serve as holiday trees.
The tree farmers will tell you that they are providing jobs; that for every tree they cut they replant 3 more; that trees are planted in soil that doesn’t support other crops, and that they protect water resources needed by plants and wildlife. It sounds good, doesn’t it? They are killing trees for the money.
This Monday Morning Rant is not intended to insult or debunk your family traditions. I swear it isn’t. Your children expect to have a tree for the holidays and I wouldn't want you to disappoint them. You wouldn't me anyway. I'm not opposed to decorating for the holidays and no one loves the scent of an evergreen more than me, but I really love trees and I think we kill too many of them in the name of tradition. Hopefully we can determine some alternatives that allow you to maintain your traditions and still prevent the commercial killing of trees.
If you’re a business owner, I understand the importance of making your business look festive for the holiday season. Customers are attracted to business that cares so of course you're going to decorate. It is important that you present a celebratory image. But, does it have to be a tree? Why not try lots of greenery and bows. Go green this year and decorate with pine cones and candles, ribbon and bows. With a few lights, it can be beautiful, even without a tree. Besides, trees don’t grow indoors normally and we don't put a tree in the house for any other holiday. Try something new this year. Maybe?
More importantly, no self-respecting tree on the planet would choose to be cut down, stood in a corner, covered in electric lights, and hung with all those ridiculous little characters called ornaments. No self-respecting tree, whether a White Pine, a Frasier Fir or a Blue Spruce, wants to be covered in red, blue, and green balls.
And stuffed birds? Give me a break.
Before you start thinking I’m a real Scrooge, I’ll clear things up for you. I’m not a Scrooge. I just happen to think that a dead tree in the house isn’t something to celebrate. So, I want to offer you some alternatives, knowing that it’s too late for many of you to consider this year. But, there’s always next year. Right? That’s right.
B & B (balled and burlapped) trees:
If you just can’t live without a tree in the house, B & B trees are a great choice. They have their roots wrapped in a nice bundle and are easy to plant outside after the holiday. Next year you will have a beautiful tree in your yard to decorate. If you don’t have anywhere to plant it, donate it to a park or to your city to be included in one of their environmentally friendly landscapes. This option is a little more expensive but at least you’re supporting life with your dollars and not environmental destruction.
Charlie Brown trees:
If you live in an area with access to forests or woodland, there is plenty of deadwood lying around. Find yourself a large limb with lots of branches lying on the ground and already dead. Make yourself a beautiful holiday tree from this gift of nature. Use it in its natural state or wrap the limbs in vinyl tape and use it for years to come. I said vinyl tape, not duct tape. The tape comes in dozens of colors so if you’re a more modern decorator, the sky is the limit for creating a beautiful focal point for the holidays. I’ve had Charlie Brown trees for years and it makes me feel good. I love the simplicity and knowing that I haven’t killed a tree.
I’ve never really liked an artificial tree but I have to admit, some of them are really beautiful. Time and technology has been good for artificial trees. You can even buy them pre-lit now and avoid the tangled mess of those little lights every year. For those than just can’t imagine the holidays without a green tree, this is a good alternative. Artificial trees are safe
Real cut trees:
I saved this for last because it’s hard to talk about. Some of you will always buy a cut tree for the holidays and nothing I say is going to change that. So, will you at least do me two things for me?
1. Keep your tree watered. Dry trees are a fire hazard. Keep your home and family safe by providing moisture to your tree. Check the water daily. Trees purchased from tree farm vendors were cut long before they arrived on the lot. They are dry and thirsty when you get them and will soak up a lot of water trying to rehydrate. Nourish them and stay safe.
2. When you have enjoyed the last fresh scent of evergreen, and the leaves are all brown and dry, don’t just put that tree out for the waste management company to pick up. That tree can still provide shelter or camouflage for the little birds and small mammals. Put that tree somewhere on your property and let it do its job. It will eventually return to the earth from which it came.
I can’t make you change your traditions but I can encourage you to be kind to trees and to at least consider other options. Trees tolerate enough abuse at the hands of the human species. We don’t have to make that abuse a part of the holiday season by supporting tree farms and the killing of a live tree for the sake of decorating. .
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© 2012 Linda Crist