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What Kind Of Christmas Tree Do You Have?
December 20th 2006 05:52
With Christmas almost upon us I thought I’d take a look at some of the more environmentally outrageous, wasteful traditions [like cutting down living trees], associated with the consumer driven ‘festive season.’ Perhaps looking at some of the alternatives on offer for those with an equally non-consumerist, eco-conscious, creative bent.
Fir Trees began their association with Christianity almost 1,000 years ago, when St Boniface, originally converted the German people to Christianity. Coming across a group of ‘pagans’ worshipping an oak tree one day – in anger – St Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and to his amazement a young fir tree sprung up from the roots of the oak tree. St Boniface assumed this as a sign of the Christian faith.
But it was not until the 16th century – with the rise of a wasteful bourgeoisie class of society – that fir trees were first dragged indoors at Christmas time and decorated as a matter of wealth and social standing.
With approximately 30-35 million living Fir trees cut down in the US alone every year, environmentalists grow more and more concerned at the need to continue possibly outmoded traditions, in the face of annihilation and continued decimation of the planet upon which we breathe and stand. Whilst it is true there are about 21,000 Christmas Tree growers in the U.S today with commercial farms to compensate, it is also true that it takes as many as 15 years to grow a tree of average retail sale height approx. two metres (6 – 7 feet), with the average commercial growing time around seven years. However, it is also true that a population of 12 billion is expected by the turn of the century, far exceeding the earth’s capacity to supply such a demand, for no other use than to die over a period of a week releasing large amounts of stored CO2 into households throughout the world. It is sensible to expect that growing food may be more essential a market by 2100 than dying Christmas trees.
In a world that is slowly beginning to die around us, it makes sense to seek out alternatives to cutting down anything that is living and converting CO2 into oxygen. If you are one of these new age thinkers I salute you and I would like to offer some creative alternatives for your Christmas Trees of the future.
It takes only one (1) acre of growing Christmas trees to produce the daily oxygen for 18 people.
Some Alternatives to Cut Christmas Trees
1. Grow a Fir, Pine or Spruce Tree in the Garden and Decorate it each year.
This is not a new idea and is an excellent activity for the children, which encourages them to be outside in the fresh air. Before you select a tree, make sure it likes your climate. Balsam firs are magnificent, for example, but they’ll do well only in cold climates. Also, know the tree’s mature size. An adorable five-foot tree could wind up reaching 60 feet high and 30 feet wide.
It will grow with your children and become a poignant memory of home. As the tree gets bigger it remains a source of endless fun for the children to climb it each year in order to decorate it.
You can leave the lights on all year round if you going to use them, although there are alternative solar lights available on the market which are nice alternative to conventional electricity – especially in places like Australia.
2. Potted Dwarf Christmas Trees by the Score
A living breathing tree is not only better to look at, it is working for you absorbing CO2 and not likely to be discarded after Christmas, when it can continue to oxygenate your home, balcony or courtyard long after the yule-tide has passed again for another year. Like many others you can choose to plant your living tree at Easter, the season of death and rebirth, as part of a new tradition of remembrance.There are many varieties of dwarf conifers that comes in pots and grow to various heights. Check your nursery for the latest varieties.
3. Cloth and Recycled ‘Junk’ Christmas Trees.
A project for the whole family, making your own Christmas tree can become a great tradition, especially if you get the whole family in on the fun. Andrea of joytotheplanet says:
“… What recycled material will you use this year? When you succeed in building an especially great tree, you can keep it and reuse.
The only rule here is: use your imagination. How about a beautiful clear tree made from used water bottles, or a wooden tree from scrap lumber? Empty egg cartons, old computer parts, any kind of “junk” from your yellow recycling bin, can be made into a cool and
unique “tree.” Talk about the true meaning of Christmas!…”
4. Inflatable, Neon and Wall Hanging Christmas Trees.
Amongst the newest ideas on the planet for cut tree alternatives are inflatable Christmas trees. They are good looking can be decorated, and fold away when you’re finished celebrating.
You could also try a nice Neon Christmas Tree which takes care of both the twinkling lights and need for a Christmas Tree all in one hit.
Alternatively, there is the newest homely trend of awesome Christmas Tree Wall hangings which not only add the necessary touches to your lounge-room for Christmas, but are super easy to store and some are made in plastic canvas and come with little lights!
Why not make your own? …try this LINK for a page of patterns and ideas.
5. Bonsai Christmas Trees
If your space is limited these are a must for you. They last a long time, and again, because they are living trees, using them at Christmas will help the planet immensely.
5. Why Not Go Troppo?
For those in the tropics, why not consider decorating a completely different kind of tree? Perhaps you could use a small artificial or hand made fir tree with a star on the top to continue the traditional symbolism… go troppo, get creative… tis the season to be jolly..
Remember : Axed Trees are Dying Trees!
WARNING : Your cheaper, typical artificial Christmas tree (found by the dozen in discount stores) is generally made from PVC or plastic based materials which are NOT good for the environment when found in landfills, so avoid them, unless you intend to reuse it year after year, as your family establishes itself a ‘Merry Tree Free’ family.