Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sappy Christmas


Here is my silly and somewhat embarrassing Christmas tree story.  Growing up, it was always a big family event to go get the Christmas tree.  My first Christmas out of college, I lived in a small apartment, and had reasoned that it was impractical to have a real tree.  So embracing my new-found practicality and my credit card, off I went to get a faux tree from the local Target.  We pulled into the parking lot and got out of the car, but as we started walking toward the store, all of the sudden I burst into tears, much to the astonishment of the dear man I was with.  Alarmed, he said, "What is it, what's wrong?"

And I, in a perfectly ridiculous and unintelligible way said, "Nothing."  
"Okay, you are crying in a parking lot.  Clearly something is wrong."  
"I don't want to do this."  
"What?" He put both hands on my shoulders, "Go to Target?"  
"I don't want a fake tree.  I want a real tree."  

And without saying another word, the lovely man turned me around and put me back in the car and drove to the Boy Scout tree lot, where he froze as he patiently shook out 20 trees for me to look at, whereupon I finally chose the first one, which was far too enormous for the apartment.  And I was blissfully happy.  The End.  





In honor of sappy Christmas tree stories throughout history, here are the Jennings & Gates top ten reasons to buy a real Christmas tree this year.

10.  Buying a real tree promotes sustainable agriculture.  For every tree harvested, 2 or 3 seedlings are planted in its place.




9.  Christmas tree farms stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts. Often, Christmas trees are grown on soils that could not support other crops.





8.  Tree farming is a labor of love.  The growing time for a 6-foot tree, which is average retail sale height, is anywhere from 7 to 15 years.




7.  Most Christmas tree growers are small family farms.  If you believe that we need more family farms in the United States, then vote with your feet.  Buying a real Christmas tree is one simple way that you can effect real change.





 6.  
Buying a real Christmas tree protects land near your home from development, and keeps your dollars local.  There are about 15,000 Christmas tree growers in the U.S., and over 100,000 people employed full or part time in the industry.





5.  Tree farms clean the air we breathe.  Real Christmas trees absorb carbon dioxide and other harmful gases and emit fresh oxygen.  Just one acre of Christmas trees cleans the air for 18 people.  With approximately one million acres producing Christmas trees in the United States, that translates into oxygen for 18 million people every day.  But farmers must make a living, so if people don't buy their trees, they won't grow them.  




4.  The tree buying trip is a memorable tradition for children and grandchildren.  No one ever looks back on their childhood and says fondly, "Wow, I remember the time we went to the big-box Super Store and picked out the fake tree made in China and lugged the box to the car."




3.  Most fake trees and wreaths are made in Korea, Taiwan or China and shipped by plane to the United States.  But fake trees don't last forever.  When they start to look ratty, they don't go back to Korea or Taiwan or China, they end up in our landfills and will never deteriorate.  




(Don't worry about buying a live tree and re-planting it, you don't need to- a cut real Christmas tree will biodegrade quickly and put valuable nutrients back into the soil.)





2.  A real tree or wreath smells good.  Like outdoors.  Fake trees and wreaths make you cry.





And the number one reason (as if you needed another one) to buy a real Christmas tree?  Simple.  A real Christmas tree is beautiful.

Please share your Christmas tree stories with us...

22 comments:

  1. What a great story. I didn't know all of the positives for buying a real tree, but (I guess you knew there was going to be a "but") in Southern California I always put the tree up as early as possible (certainly by the first week in December) and even with diligent watering, it's dry and grey by Christmas. I almost thought about not commenting so you wouldn't know that I have a fake tree! I love the massive number of tiny, clear glass lights on it and the ease of putting it up. I buy cut greens and a live wreath for that fabulous fragrance.
    I hope we're still friends. :D
    xo,
    Karen

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    1. Hi Friend! That is a challenge isn't it, keeping a tree fresh for a month? The Daily Green from Good Housekeeping says that it can be done. First, they say, try to cut your own from a grower to ensure that it is fresh. If that is not possible, ask the tree lot when their trees were cut. The needles should feel flexible not brittle. If the trees don't seem fresh, Daily Green says check out another place. Be sure to give the tree a fresh cut once you get it home, and put it into a bucket of water immediately. They say a tree can drink a quart of water a day, so that means most tree stands need to be checked at least once, if not twice a day. Once sap closes over the pores in the tree base, it will not be able to drink, so if your tree stops drinking in the stand, they recommend drilling shallow holes in the trunk so that it can take up water again. One friend who likes to put her tree up early does it in stages, so she can give it a fresh cut at the two week mark. She puts the tree up with just a bow on top and lights placed deep in the boughs. At two weeks, she takes it out of the stand, gives it a fresh cut and clear, clean water, then adds the rest of the lights and decorates it for Christmas. She says it is like having two Christmas trees. I do love the Noble Firs and cedars out your way. We have mostly pine and spruce here. Have a wonderful weekend! Xo, N.G.

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    2. Your friend has a really good idea...I could happily live with the tree with lights only the first 2 weeks of December. In fact, the occasional minimalist in me could enjoy the tree with lights and skip the ornaments (sometimes). I may go out and find a pretty noble fir this year. :D
      xo,
      Karen

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    3. Hi Karen, I totally agree. One year, I had a tree so beautiful that I couldn't bear to put anything on it, so I tied a huge plaid bow on top and tucked a red cardinal ornament inside the boughs and left it at that. It was my favorite tree ever. xo, N.G.

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  2. Oh, I love this post so much I am bookmarking it!! And I will show every fake tree lover why I love Christmas trees!!
    I will NOT have a fake tree. PERIOD! I always get a tree that is too big. I always have to climb a ladder. I always get stuck. I have never brought home a tree that I haven't gotten into an argument about until a few years ago. I have to have it perfect, and most men do not agree. I finally decided to become a regular customer at the local tree farmer's lot, and they deliver and set it up. NO MORE ARGUMENTS!
    Thank you for posting this.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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    1. Hi Teresa, I laughed when I read your note. What is it about always getting a tree 10 times too big?!? xo, N.G.

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  3. Love this sappy story as well. I have always had a real, as big as we can haul in, tree in our sunroom with cathedral ceilings. Its aroma fills the whole house, and just makes the season! I support local tree farms and adore the hunting experience with my family. Hot cider, boots and gloves and running through rows of trees in search of the perfect, tallest one. Can't wait to take my new pup this year. Happy Holidays!
    xo Nancy

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    1. Nancy, that sounds like so much fun! Take some pictures! xo, N.G.

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  4. Being from Oregon where tree farms are abundant, thank you for recognizing promoting such trees. While many growers simply do so for the tax break on acreage, you are right that there are many family farms that depend on their tree crop.

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    1. Hi Michele, I am so glad you stopped by. I am so grateful that tree farms provide so many benefits to us all, like oxygen, lol, I agree, it is nice that we allow growers some tax breaks. Like most of us, I'm just happy to see 40 acres that doesn't have 1500 townhouses sitting on it. :) xo, N.G.

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    2. Luckily Oregon has Urban Growth Boundaries around the larger cities keeping residential acreage protected from over development. Hence, lots of holiday trees growing on land that would otherwise be destined for tract homes!

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  5. I love your posts - they are thoughtful, sincere and with lovely photos. Thank you.
    Karen

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    1. Hi Karen, Wow, thanks! That is really nice to hear. xo, N.G.

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  6. After several years of trees that look small in the open air but HUGE when we get them home, I think we're finally getting the hang of it. One year we even had to tie the tree to a door with a rope to keep it from falling over. Put me in the category of live trees only. It's just not Christmas to me with out one...love the smell!!

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    1. Hi, How funny! You are so right, the smell of a real tree says Christmas. xo, N.G.

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  7. What a great post! Love Christmas and all those great family traditions. Thanks for sharing. But, before then ... "Happy Thanksgiving"

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  8. OH GREAT!Always buy a real tree…….this year bought a fake at a garage sale this summer…………there is the debate going on right now about what to do!This POST will help!Many Thanks!

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  9. ...i love this!...we always cut our tree down at the same little tree farm...we now take our grandchildren where we took our children...i always encouage people to find a tree with a small gap...for that represents where God's creatures took shelter during the tree's life...it is usually the perfect place for a bird's nest...blessings laney

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  10. Just popping in via pinterest...and WHAT an interesting post this is!!! I am SO with you on this!! As a German living in the UK I was SHOCKED by the amount of plastic trees they use here - I could NEVER have one and would rather have Christmas without a tree..... Best wishes from Suffolk...nicola

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  11. What a fabulous post......almost makes me wish Christmas was not over!!!! We always buy real- nothing can beat the smell and beauty....there's no comparison even against a perfect faux tree. This was a wonderful post that really captures the essence of this holiday- thank you! Hoe yours were merry and all the best in health and happiness in the new year :)

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