Wednesday, November 29, 2006

In a quan-tree

Upon reading Mother Bumper's post--over at Mommy Blogs Toronto--about trying to live a greener life, I was reminded of the recent environmental angst that has been plaguing me of late. I haven't talked much about my green leanings, but it is actually an issue that is very important to me. And as we enter the holiday season, the perennial question comes to mind: What should we do about a Christmas tree?

In the early years of my relationship with Trillian, we had a fake tree, following along with the whole argument that it would be a one-time purchase and would mean saving one tree a year. But that (and our Christmas lights) ended up in a landfill before I got pregnant after we found out that the plastic in those products uses lead to increase pliability. I once read somewhere that there are some fake trees made without lead, but cannot find the reference or the trees now, of course.

The tree issue had become a mostly moot point before then anyway. By that time, we had established a pattern of visiting my in-laws for a week around Christmas, so we simply enjoyed whatever tree they had. It didn't take away all of my anxiety over the kill-a-tree vs. purchase-a-plastic-monstrosity debate. But at least I didn't have to accept responsibility for the decision.

The Christmas before Scooter was born, however, we hosted family for the celebrations since I was starting my third trimester and couldn't fly. There was no way to get by without a tree. Trillian talked me into a cut tree. I could justify it because it was a farmed tree, grown specifically for the purpose. Plus, our county would pick the tree up after Christmas and use it to create mulch for local projects (and that residents could purchase for fairly cheap).

We have thought about a live tree from time-to-time, but there's always been a reason against it. Most years there was the problem that we would be away and unable to water it for too long. Or we didn't have a place to plant it after the holidays when we were living in rental properties. When we had a cat, we knew from experience that she would use it as a litter-box. And now we're back to the whole rental property, nowhere to put it problem.

Even though we're headed down to the States for the last third of December, we contemplated getting a tree this year. But that brought me back to the above debate. I nearly caved when we went to the grocery store last week and walked by the cut trees. The scent of fresh trees was so wonderful. But I chose my usual way out--no tree. Scooter is enjoying the trees that are up around the city--there's a giant one not too far from us with excellent lights. And Grandma and Grandpa will have a beautiful tree at their place. So we'll have plenty of Christmas cheer.

Of course, it still doesn't settle things for the long-term. In my fantasies for the future--that perfect house we'll find in our favorite part of the country (the US, that is)--there's a large evergreen out front that we'll decorate each year with bird-seed ornaments. There will also be something indoors, that we can use to display our favorite ornaments, though I haven't quite figured that one out yet.

Anyone got this one figured out?


Mad Hatter said...

We always get a real tree. We live in New Brunswick where Christmas tree farming is a big part of the economy. The trees here are beautiful, fresh, and cheap (we pay $20 or less each year for our tree). We buy the tree at the Farmer's Market, walk home with it, and when we are done with it we can recycle it in the park across the street. The city comes by with a woodchipper and composts all the trees to use as mulch in the city parks the following year. It's beuatiful, environmentally sustainable, and there's no plastic or lead to be found.

Mouse said...

I've thought about the fact that the in many places Christmas tree farming is both a part of the economy and carried out in an environmentally conscious manner. Our last county (in the States) did the whole mulching thing, so we could justify it the year we did it.

After writing this post, our building put up a reminder that real trees are not allowed. So again, my mind is made up for me. Unfortunately, this leaves me in a real bind for next year. We are likely to be hosting the holidays for Trillian's family (since, fingers crossed, I will likely have just had a baby or will be ready to pop). So I'll be revisiting the issue then.