Monday, December 03, 2007
There is a new War on Christmas, and this time it's not about religion.
We have always been an artificial Christmas tree sort of household, for a few reasons:
1. Discarded trees dumped in the alley after Christmas infuriate me. The city provides free mulching on a weekend in January not far from our house; you just have to get the tree there. Alternatively, evergreen boughs are great for protecting gardens until spring. Either way, trees don't belong in landfills.
2. Dead trees make me sad. I know they're a crop and were grown for the purpose of cutting down, but still. Is there anything more sad than a Christmas tree lot the day after Christmas?
3. Real trees get dry even if you remember to keep watering. Our house is old and timbery. Tree lights get hot. It sounds like a recipe for disaster.
4. Needles on the floor.
5. And the number one reason: artificial trees are much cheaper, transportation from and to the basement takes about five minutes, they're not very heavy, and now they come *pre-lit*.
We lost our tree in the flood of our basement last June, and will be shopping for a new one this week. Then I read this post: The ecology of Christmas
Now I'm feeling so much eco-guilt I am reluctant to buy a tree at all. The real ones are chock full of pesticides, fossil fuels were burned in their cross-country transport, and they'll end up in a landfill; the fake ones are made of toxic chemicals by 8-year-old Chinese children, plus the fossil fuel thing applies, and the landfill after a few years. Unless I want to be a Bad Planetary Citizen, I must plant a locally native evergreen (are there any besides juniper?) purchased from a responsible organic grower and brought home by bicycle, decorate it with acorns and other native seeds, and then admire it through the vinyl-framed window of my fossil-fuel heated house built of wood ripped from the Wisconsin Northwoods in the most unsustainable way possible, while nibbling cookies baked with eggs from chickens living in tiny cages and fed overpriced corn diverted from the ethanol supply stream. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I try very hard to behave in environmentally sound ways, but I need to choose my battles. Can't I please enjoy one month out of the year without having to be reminded that my Christmas tree is killing the planet?