O Christmas Tree

Choosing and chopping down a Christmas tree with my family was always one of the best days of the year. Even on Long Island we had Christmas tree farms, so all six of us would pile into the minivan and drive out east to the beautiful, seemingly rural tree farms. Those days remain among my favorite memories. We’d be bundled in jackets, mittens, and boots, just hoping for snowflakes. We ran around the trees and walked as far back as we could on the farm, figuring that was where they kept the best trees. After searching and all choosing different trees, we would finally narrow it down to two and Mom would make the final decision. Knowing how much her young daughters liked tall tress, we always ended up with a tree larger than we could handle. Luckily, our 1957 ranch house was designed with 12′ cathedral ceiling in the living room (technically called the “great room”). A few years Dad actually had to cut about 2′ – 3′ from the bottom of the tree in order to make it fit! One year the tree almost fell off the roof on our way home; we four girls watched it like a hawk after that.

Eventually cutting your own tree became much too expensive, and we resorted to choosing a tree from a lot, though we’d still head out east for it – until we got to be older and we weren’t all home from college in time to participate in the tree picking.  While we can’t all be there for tree picking, we make sure to decorate the tree all together – it’s a bit event with music, cookies, eggnog, too many ornaments, and traditions – even if we have to wait until Christmas Eve to decorate. We’ve had ugly trees, fat trees, tall trees, trees that fell down in the house, and many more. I imagine it will always be a big deal to us.

My dad is a fan of breaking shoes and bustin’ chops, as he would say, so every year he now talks about that nice 8′ artificial tree that he and Mom are going to put in the living room – forget the real trees!  I think he’s kidding, but still, I threaten to not come home if there is a fake tree. Or I’ll just haul one down from Vermont. We do have fake miniature trees in the house, but there is nothing quite like the Christmas tree smell, without which it wouldn’t feel like Christmas as my house.

Yesterday I received a neighborhood email with 5 reasons to buy a real Christmas tree that touch on the environment and the local economy – how perfect!

5 REASONS TO GET A REAL CHRISTMAS TREE

By Clare Innes, Marketing Coordinator – Chittenden Solid Waste District, Redmond Rd, cinnes@cswd.net

Thinking about getting an artificial Christmas tree this year? Here are 5 great reasons to go for the real deal:

1. The average artificial tree lasts 6 to 9 years but will remain in a landfill for centuries.

2. Think a real tree poses a greater fire hazard? Think again. Artificial trees pose a greater fire hazard than the real deal because they are made with polyvinyl chloride, which often uses lead as a stabilizer, making it toxic to inhale if there is a fire. Lead dust can be harmful to children.

3. Every acre of Christmas trees produces enough daily oxygen for 18 people. There are about 500,000 acres of Christmas trees growing in the U.S. Because of their hardiness, trees are usually planted where few other plants can grow, increasing soil stability and providing a refuge for wildlife.

4. North American Christmas tree farms employ more than 100,000 people; 80% of artificial trees worldwide are manufactured in China.

5. The most sustainable options: Buy your tree from a local grower or purchase a potted tree and plant it in your yard after the holidays.

Enjoy the beginning of the holiday season and have fun finding the perfect tree.