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The Rant: A Monday Morning View - Save A Tree

Updated on February 27, 2015

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.

Tree Farmers

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.

Alternative Choices

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.

Artificial trees:

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. .

Read more of my hubs here.

© 2012 Linda Crist


Submit a Comment

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 3 years ago from Central Virginia

    lindacee, Hello! Gosh I am late responding to your visit for that I sincerely apologize. I hope your holidays were all you could have imagined. I think the season becomes even more meaningful when you keep it simple. Thank you for the visit.

  • lindacee profile image

    lindacee 3 years ago from Arizona

    I totally agree with you. Why take the life of a beautiful tree when there are so many other alternatives out there. We don't do a tree or decorations. This time of the year is more a time of reflection and anticipation of good things yet to come.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

    Merry Christmas, my friend!

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Ditto here Shauna.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

    Linda, that could have been the problem. It was a very foul odor and it came about before Christmas.

    My son and I are not decorating this year. No tree, no nothing. Times are really hard so we will celebrate the reason for the season and praise God we have each other.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Shauna, I have done the same thing with a Charlie Brown branch on an end table and it was all I needed. This year, I will have no tree at all. It's all nonsense in my humble opinion. lol I wonder what that odor was? One would wonder if the tree had been preserved with some chemical prior to being put on the lot for sale. Hmmmmm.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

    Linda, several years ago I gave up having a live tree in the house for Christmas (after all once they are severed from their root systems they are no longer alive). The last year I had a so called live tree in my home, it took on a horrific stink, no matter how often I changed the water and added sugar. It was putrid! It made it hard to enjoy the decorations on the tree because you didn't want to enter my house to see it up close and personal! My neighbor had the same experience that same year. I don't know what caused it, but it led me to buy an artificial tree the next year. They can be recycled year after year and don't result in killing a tree.

    One year I didn't even put up an artificial tree. I placed a three foot high tree made of ribbons on an end table in the living room and we placed our gifts underneath the table. It was just as effective, decorative and was no cause for the cats climbing the tree and knocking it over!

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    MizB - hello my friend. You and Mr B are A* folks in my book. But you already knew that. That is a really cool thing that the Game commission does. I wish more states would do that. Here, they just go to the landfill and that's makes me ill. Thanks for your great comment and for the compliment.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Debbie, I am right tere with you. Thanks for being conservative and for reading my rant too.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Deborah, great comment addition. What a super gift from the Audubon Society too. When I was maarried we filled our yard with B & B trees and I rode by the house a few weeks ago nd it looks like an evergreen forest now. Thanks for a great exchange.

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    Doris James-MizBejabbers 5 years ago

    Some good thoughts here. I used to use live trees, but then I noticed that I choked up every time a live tree was brought into the house. So I haven't contributed to the murder of a tree in at least 10 ro 12 years. Mr. B thinks Christmas trees are silly, anyway, but he really took to a little fiber optic tree when they first came out. That is our traditional tree. In our state the Game and Fish Commission asks that you put your discarded tree at the curb. Then they are picked up and the commission puts them in our lakes for some kind of fish habitats. Cool, huh. You've written another winner, my lady!

  • Deborah Brooks profile image

    Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

    I love live trees but I don't want to cut them down.. you can always decorated your trees in your yard.. and get a pre lite artificial tree for inside.. that is what I do.. so we don't have to cut anything down..

    Merry Christmas


  • DeborahNeyens profile image

    Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

    Of course, Linda. I think the ideal solution would be a live burlap-wrapped tree that could be planted outdoors in the spring. But for us, most of our backyard already is wooded with no room to plant more trees. In fact, we once received a dozen blue spruce saplings as a gift from the Audubon society that we planted wherever we could. Only a few survived (many got eaten by deer), but some of them are now too close together. We are thinking those will become our future Christmas trees when it comes time to thin them out.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Deborah, I absolutely respect your opinion and agree with many of the things you have said. And, I expected to take some heat for this rant so it's fine that you disagree. The point in writing this one is to make people think before they just cut down a tree for the duration of the holiday season. If one person makes an alternative choice this year, then I am satisfied. I hope you and I can agree to disagree. :-)

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Shiningirisheyes - welcome to my world. I am so happy to call you my friend. :-)

  • DeborahNeyens profile image

    Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

    I'm normally right with you on your Monday morning rants, but this week I have to respectfully disagree. I consider myself an environmentalist (a/k/a, tree hugger) and I have no problem using a live tree. Remember that these trees never would have been planted in the first place but for the fact they were intended to someday be Christmas trees. In the meantime, they have been providing carbon dioxide to the environment as they've grown, and when they are cut down, they will be replanted to begin the cycle all over again. Artificial trees, on the other hand, are harmful to the environment in both their production (they are petroleum-based) and disposal. The average life of an artificial tree is something like 5-6 years, after which they go to a landfill for all of eternity. After Christmas, my tree, which I cut myself at a local tree farm (thus helping the local economy), becomes a refuge for birds and animals in my backyard during winter and then becomes mulch in the spring.

  • shiningirisheyes profile image

    Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

    Consider me converted as I do not have a Christmas Tree. You are such a kind soul, always caring and aware of the living things around us. Glad you share my world.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Dear Amy, I feel just as you do. I knew this one might draw some heat but I had to say it. Thank you for the support.

  • Amy Becherer profile image

    Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    And I thought I was the only one who cried to see the huge, old, long-lived survivor of the east coast disaster, cut down to decorate Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. All decorated and lit up like life itself, as it dies. I could just scream if I wasn't crying...

    Thank you, Linda, for caring enough to say what you feel. You said it beautifully. And, the trees are rejoicing.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Linda, rant on girl. I love it when you rant.

  • Sunshine625 profile image

    Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

    Woohoo to your rant! I totally agree about saving a tree. Whether the trees were intentionally planted for christmas or not. It's so sad to see all those trees kicked to the curb after the holidays. Out with the trash. Respect the tree and go fake! In addition it saves money and you won't clean up needles for 6 months afterwards and no risk of fire. Ok, my rant is over. Thanks for the hub :)

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Yeah! Congratulations Louisa. I agree, it is easier and makes a lot more sense.

  • Louisa Rogers profile image

    Louisa Rogers 5 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

    I'm with you! I always loved the smell of trees but my husband, an early environmentalist, hated the Christmas tree industry and all the cutting down . So I switched to artificial, and now it's fine. I must say, it is a lot easier!

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello MH!! How are you my friend? Thanks for the compliment. My rants are really more fun than rants but I'm glad you enjoy them. Do they make artificial Douglas Fir trees? I have never noticed. They are beautiful trees, aren't they?

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Jackie, hello! Hope you've had a good day.

    I love the idea of adopt a tree. How cool that would be. Thanks for putting it out there in the universe.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi nanderson500! Your reaction to 8 trees is just like mine. I cannot imagine it. lol Congrats on using an artificial tree. As for the smell of pine, I think it comes in a can or as a candle. lol Thanks for weighing in on the subject. I appreciate your taking time to read my rant.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    mprop, I'm not the die-hard that I appear to be. I know there are pros and cons to every issue. I write these Monday Morning Rants more for the sake of getting people to think about their choices than anything else. Still, I find no logic in cutting down a tree for the purpose of a holiday that has nothing to do with a decorated tree. Thanks for shining the light on another side of the argument and congrats on your artificial tree. :-)

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

    Love your rants. My compliments. Douglas Fir was our tree of choice. When my daughter went to college, in 1998, my wife switched to an artificial tree.

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

    I am on your side here, if I use a real tree it is a small but real one that later gets planted. It is so sad to see all those trees chopped and stacked and then where do they go?

    How about adopt a tree? Wouldn't that be a great idea, for those with no place to plant it?

  • nanderson500 profile image

    nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

    Wow, eight trees, that is amazing. I have an artificial tree that I set up every year. It would be nice, though, if someone invented an artificial tree that smelled like a real tree. I mean, how hard could that be? Maybe there is already something like that out there.

  • mpropp profile image

    Melissa Propp 5 years ago from Minnesota

    I work in the printing industry, so I'm not normally a huge fan of "save a tree" and I can give you the stats also on how using a tree for paper is actually in the long run more sustainable than the electronic version--because the computers and plastics don't get recycled, etc. BUT, I can see your point for a Christmas tree. It does seem sort of a waste to use it for such a short time, even if it was grown for that purpose. Luckily, I'm far too lazy to go out and get a real tree each year, so we pull out our lovely pre-lit artificial tree and call it a day!

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Mary, you are my girl! Eight trees????? OMG, I would have to start decorating in June. lol

    A friend recently gave me the coolest gift. It is a real pine cone that has been dipped in a light coating of wax scented with pine. The wax is so thin it is invisible. It hangs in a window and when the warmth of the sun hits it, my whole house smells like pine. I am in pine heaven. :-)

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

    I have eight full sized Christmas trees in my house...there is no way I could have live trees since I begin putting up my trees and decorations the day after Thanksgiving. Why torture a real tree when I can use an artificial one? The smell you say? Candles that smell like pine and scented room spray...I've got it covered.

    Good rant Linda! Voted up, useful, and interesting.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Mary, lol, you're too cute. I knew I was going to take some heat on this one but I'm like Bill, I don't really care. I feel like I offered enough alternatives to please anyone and I won't change my mind. Cutting a tree down so it can stand inside a house for a week or two with lights and decorations on it, makes little sense to me. I'm so glad you agree. I don't feel so alone now. :-)

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Bill, if you weren't so precious I would clone you. Some days I wish there were more of you but I'm sure I couldn't keep up if there were. A decorated house plant works just fine for me too (minus the drink). I'm the only non-alcoholic in the world that won't drink because it might encourage someone else to do so. I use to laugh at my husband, the real alcoholic, when we went out with friends. I told him I couldn't understand why he was the one with the problem and I was the one that couldn't have a drink. Designated driver - always. lol

    Love ya back my friend!

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Gus, I always love a good discussion. I understand tree farms. I just think it's silly to grow trees just for the sake of cutting them down and decorating them. Even me, the proverbial hugger of trees can accept tree farms for the sake of building materials, paper, etc. but you'll never convert me to thinking it's necessary to grow them to stand in my living room with lights on them. Good try though! lol

  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

    I feel the same way about using live trees, I am just not brave enough to admit it. I think it is such a waste! I have bought live Norfolk Island Pines and planted them after Christmas. I agree that artificial trees are made now to look and smell just like the real thing.

    I voted this Hub UP, and will share.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I so love your compassion and spirit. Here is Linda, taking on the Christmas tree industry singlehandedly. LOL Linda, if you got one convert out of this hub you would be doing better than anyone expects you to do.

    There have been many a Christmas when I didn't have a tree, and I actually decorated a large indoor plant and called in a tree. What the hell do I care? It had lights on it, and if I had enough to drink, I didn't care anyway. :)

    love you my kindred spirit


  • GusTheRedneck profile image

    Gustave Kilthau 5 years ago from USA

    Hi Linda (lrc7815) - I believe that tree-hugging is a wonderful and very friendly thing. At the same time, I believe that a tree-hugger should understand several things about these trees to keep the whole deal in good perspective.

    One of the first things to be understood is that the commercial "Christmas trees" are virtually all cullings from the very orderly rows of young trees grown on "tree farms" and reforestation plots. This is not the same thing as cutting down naturally sown and grown trees in the forests. In fact, many, if not most, forest-grown conifers make for really subpar Christmas trees.

    Even if such naturally growing trees could make for fine holiday greenery in the house and around, we have to understand that whole forests need lots of upkeep. If the little trees and underbrush are permitted to just plain grow and grow - never to be removed when they get overcrowded, not only do those little guys have substandard growth, the dense under-canopy vegetation is forest fire disaster in the making.

    Tree-huggers need to think about things like that as well as sparing one and all so that they may grow poorly and expire when lightning fires up the undergrowth and the crowded little guys with it.

    But I like trees, too - it may be that I just don't hug the things that readily. :-)

    Gus :-)))


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