Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thinking about Christmas trees

It's that time of year where we start seeing cars driving down the street with Christmas trees on the roof of their cars. I don't dare buy a tree this early in the game, not after that Christmas when I was pregnant with my youngest... I was so into the holiday season during my last trimester of pregnancy that year that we got a Christmas tree the week after Thanksgiving. I'm not sure why it happened, but the tree was so dead by Christmas morning that we had to be careful not to touch it because all of the needles would fall off. In fact, we took it outside the day after Christmas and gave it one solid shake and POOF it was a skeleton of a tree. So, long story short, we now wait until a few weeks before Christmas to get a tree.
Sad tree, Christmas 2006
(I can't believe I found this photo!)

Anyway, the tree brings up yet another environmental issue for us all - is it better to cut down a tree (or purchase a pre-cut tree) or to have a fake tree? Well, for me it is a no brainer - we live in New England and I can drive just 10 minutes to support a local family that makes their living off of their Christmas tree farm. But for others who don't live in a geographical location that Christmas tree type trees grow naturally, then this is a real debate.

This article from our friends over at in.gredients got me thinking about the tree topic yesterday, as I sat (and continue to sit) on the couch bored from being home sick. As stated in the article, the National Christmas Tree Association does make a decent argument for real trees. And for one more read about the topic, here is another article from Green Options to check out.

The thing about the fake trees, even if you can find a second hand one, is that it will eventually end up in a landfill. That plastic isn't going anywhere... and when I start thinking about new ones being produced, my head just hurts.

And while I do like supporting a local family by getting a real tree, I was thinking that this year we might try something different. Certainly we will miss the sweet smell of Christmas that comes with the real tree, but we certainly WON'T miss the needles all over the floor. In fact, I think that alone might have made my decision for me.

So then what? Make a tree of course! There are many different good (and not so good) ideas out there, but I think my favorite comes from the good people over at instructables:

This tree is made from branches found out in the woods, which would be a fun thing to do with the family.
Check out the full instructions here.

This one was my second favorite, if we wanted a smaller tree. We would have to purchase the wire, which doesn't appeal to me as much, but we could always support our local hardware store if needed.
For instructions on this tree, go here

And definitely worth checking out is the blog that I came across called One Hundred Christmas Trees. If you've got a few minutes, there are some very enjoyable trees there!

Lastly, I will leave you with this fun video that my mother in law sent me when she heard I was researching Christmas tree ideas:

If you are the Christmas tree type, what are your plans this year??


  1. Though I am not sure what we are doing this year, i would like to point out two other options.
    A live tree. This would be one with the root ball still attached. It could then be replanted after Christmas (if the ground is frozen, just put it outside and it will patiently wait until spring).
    The other option is one that my family and I shared for several years. We decided not to have a tree. Instead, we set up a Manger Scene (their are still many heirloom sets around - you don't have to buy one made in China with redheaded Jesus's). We put the gifts around the manger and limited them to three simple gifts each. Our focus was on the Ultimate Gift(which is the reason for CHRISTmas). This allowed us have ornaments that are reusable for generations, proper focus, and financial responsibilty. How cool is that. Now that I think about it, we will probably do this again.
    Merry Christmas!
    Steve F

  2. Thanks Steve - those are really good options. I mistakenly assume that people know about the live tree option, but I should have mentioned it so thank you!
    I also really like the idea of limiting gifts. It does bring up the issue with gifts sent (in our case, we live far away) from relatives that would end up under a tree (or whatever)... but we are working on that one. It might take a few years to eliminate the "stuff".

  3. There are a few really great local tree farms in our area that I usually hit up. One in Richmond, on Swamp Rd by the airport road and Seekonk in GB. I have the need to shop and support local businesses this year, in part because box stores start putting Christmas stuff out at Halloween this year. That left a strange taste in my mouth, it hit me that it really had become grossly commercial. But when I stopped by Crystal Essence and spent 7$ and was treated with such kindness, it sold me. So I look forward to posts on Holiday gifts.