You may remember my recent post about Hugelkultur, and the great way to reuse woody debris for reducing the need for watering your garden by adding organic matter to soil. This isn’t what this post is about. This time I’m talking about that other kind of recycling – where something gets used again and again. This is about Christmas trees that get live on long after you put your ornaments away, rather than getting ground up, or burned up, or set outside until you can figure out what to do with it.
I have a fondness for living Christmas trees, but, frankly, I already have enough evergreen trees around me. And this is part of what I like about this idea. The trees live on, but someone else gets to keep the trees alive and happy the rest of the year. Cool! This, apparently, is a new trend, which I had never heard about until today.
A lot of the press about this idea talks about assuaging your guilt over cutting down a tree just for decoration. But, frankly, I have no guilt. I know the trees raised for this holiday are just that. I haven’t cut down a wild evergreen for Christmas since I was 10 years old, and went out into the woods with my dad, my sisters and a handy bow saw. We don’t do that any more because 1) where the heck would we find one? and 2) so many people have turned their back yards and side lots into Christmas tree lots around here that my only guilt is in not supporting all of the local businesses. All those tree farms are great for the local economies, and for the local air.
But here we have this new idea which takes the living Christmas tree idea one step further. You can rent perfectly trimmed, and even decorated trees. These trees will be re-used as Christmas trees, year after year until they are too big. I wonder if they get put out to pasture at that point…
But, actually, I’m kind of taken by this other option, to get a tree that looks more like the ones we got when I was a kid. They are young (small!), native, what might be called ‘Charlie Brown’ sorts of Christmas trees – Sitka Spruce, Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir. Not exactly dense, towering glories.
Well, they aren’t towering glories until they get back into the wild after spending some time in your house. A local Washington Adopt a Stream foundation is renting these trees for Christmas to money, and awareness, for salmon stream recovery. You can get a 3′-4′ tree from them for Christmas for just $35. If you return it to them after the holidays they will give you $10 back, and then that tree will be planted as part of the restoration of a local salmon stream, where it will get to live for years to come.
This isn’t the best option for everyone. Heck, they only have 200 trees to rent. But how cool would it be to go visit your Christmas tree in years to come. And maybe one day go fishing in its shadow?