O, Christmas tree

Not exactly a food topic, but if you're still deliberating about a Christmas tree (real tree? artificial tree? no tree? see what Grist's Umbra had to say), here are two ideas that are easier than buying a live one that you have to try to plant somewhere:

Norfolk Island pine as Christmas treeMy choice, an idea borrowed from a friend: a live 4-foot Norfolk Island pine. It isn't native to the temperate zone, but it's lovely, and makes a fine house plant. The tree, bought from a local independent greenhouse/nursery, cost the same (or less) than a modest-sized "real" Christmas tree. The local chestnut tree farm that used to sell Christmas trees got out of the Christmas tree biz last year.

Meanwhile, a Pinwheel Farm offers this tradition, which it practices after Christmas but would be just as good beforehand. The following is from the Lawrence Sustainability Network's newsletter:

Here's how we keep the spirit of a Christmas Tree without spending money and energy on a disposable, plantation-grown dead tree covered with electric lights, non-recyclable tinsel, and decorations made in China! A longstanding winter tradition at the farm is to gather kids of all ages to help make edible decorations for the birds and decorate the locally-grown fir tree we planted a number of years ago.

4 Responsesto “O, Christmas tree”

  1. Bonnie P. says:

    I've read that Christmas tree plantations aren't "that bad" but it just feels wrong to me to drag a dying tree in your house and then throw it out afterward. Last year I convinced my grandmother to buy a small living tree (photo) and somehow she bought two, then I had to make good on my promise to plant them afterward, which I ended up doing the morning we were leaving. They're thriving though, and since she lost a lot of her pines in Hurricane Ivan, they're nice to have.

    At home, we have had a "Christmas ficus" since 2000. This plant is so enormous, it is 6 feet tall and about 5 feet wide — it came with the place when we bought it, because no one wanted to move it. I put little lights on it and a few years ago I decided it was too much trouble to take them off -- they are unobtrusive enough to stay on there year round, and I just put ornaments on and plug it in after Thanksgiving. It's a little Charlie Brown but I like it.

  2. Jenni P says:

    One thing Umbra didn't mention is that it's easy for Seattlelites to get -- and get rid of -- a living tree.

    Swanson's, a Seattle nursery, offers native varieties that you can donate to be planted near a local stream to aid in salmon recovery. You have to pay for the tree and for delivery both ways, so it's costly. But you get to have a tree that looks and smells like Christmas without leaving a sad dead tree on the curb afterwards. (Though if you go that route, trees left curbside with your yard waste will be turned into compost.)

  3. Janet says:

    Actually, it's possible here in Lawrence to do a totally local thing. There is at least one Christmas tree farm still in operation locally, and the city uses the dead trees for wildlife habitat. Still, I like the idea of not killing a tree.

  4. Julie says:

    Similar to your idea to get a Norfolk pine, Australians can get Wollemi pines instead. They're an endangered species that they're trying to re-introduce. They can be potted, or planted in your garden.

    Oh - I've just looked again at the site and it looks like you can get them in a lot more places than I realised: http://www.wollemipine.com/global.php