Editor's Note: This one started with the JBS's facebook status update, "I have Christmas tree abandonment issues. It brought us such joy, yet now it sits discarded alone at the side of the curb..." and my immediate comment, "Guest blog post. Ready go!" There was just something about the personification of the discarded tree that intrigued me. I even found an interesting photo book called "Abandoned Christmas Trees" covering the topic. Therefore, I was thrilled when my inbox pinged a few hours later with an email containing material for a full post. Was I surprised? Nope. JBS is quite efficient and creative in all aspects everything, including her freelance graphic design work (remember Jenny Wren who designed the stationary for my Big Fat Warhol Wedding? Exactly. That's her.). This follows suit. Enjoy!
We were a bit tardy this year with getting a Christmas tree. To be exact, it was December 14th and that date didn't leave much time to enjoy a tree's fragrant scent and twinkling magic because we were going out of town for the holidays a week later. Wavering about the purchase and delayed due to rain, my husband and I needed persuasion. On the other hand, our four-year-old, GJS was adamant about making the trip out to the woods to get a tree. As is her style, she exuberantly announced "and eat cookies too!", which the local tree farmer supplies for the patrons. In addition, there was a small tale from the local library about a Christmas tree farm, a woman and her neighbor boy who nurture trees from seedlings to majestic specimens that sealed the deal.* I suppose that was all of the persuading we needed. Yes, we were absolutely getting a tree.
There's something about a real live Christmas tree that just makes the holidays more special– and takes some of the commercialization out of it ironically. Maybe its the journey to pick one out that gives many of us our annual traditions. Or maybe it's the fact that I've spent at least half of my life watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, thus forever endearing my heart to the Christmas tree.
As many people have shifted to artificial trees, I've struggled with the decision of buying a live tree. I want to do what's best for the environment but am commitment shy when it comes to planting a balled version in my own yard. I also am not ready to give up the childlike wonder and joy that is finding the perfect tree. Whether small and humble, larger than life, perfectly tapered or bush-like with bare spots, the excitement of discovery never ceases. As the tractor hauls your newest prize and cherished loved ones back to the parking lot, the excitement continues. Trekking back to the family abode; finding a special spot in the heart of the home; stringing the lights; pausing on the memories of each ornament as they are unwrapped and arranged; and finally reflecting in that brilliant moment as the tree first shines in all its glory.
No wonder I have such a hard time saying goodbye to my chosen one. It is with regret each year that I undress my adorned tree, starve it of water and place my beloved at the curb with shame. I know it's wrong to personify a tree, but it's hard not to when it provides so much to its proprietor. As my daughter and I learned in awe, it takes ten years of love and attention for an evergreen to grow almost 7 feet tall. A tree can provide shade, clean air, spectacular vistas, homes for creatures great and small and wonderful memories for some. It seems quite fitting then that we should feel admiration and respect for the greatly treasured Christmas tree... or as in my case, feel abandonment. It is with sadness each year that I relinquish my tree.
Nevertheless, it isn't hard to regain that infectious enthusiasm that the Christmas tree inspires in us all. A quick read of a children's book and I'm ready to be back at the farm.
Mr. Willowby's Christmas tree
Came by special delivery.
Full and fresh and glistening green–
The biggest tree he had ever seen.
He dashed downstairs
to open the door–
This was the moment
he'd waited for.
"A magnificent tree! Splendid!" he cried.
Please sir, won't you carry it right inside?"**
Stories noted above are *"Christmas Farm" by Mary Lyn Ray and **"Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree" by Robert Barry