I’ve got kids now, so Christmas has suddenly become a lot more fun than in recent years. I was especially excited that they might be able to help decorate the tree, at least a little, so as soon as Thanksgiving was over, we scheduled the day.
I searched through our shed to find our artificial tree and suddenly remembered something I didn’t care about last year: our tree was pretty pathetic. Several of the limbs were broken or lost, and one of the stand legs broke off, so we had to simply lean it against the corner last year. That simply wouldn’t do!
So we loaded up the car and headed to the store where it became quite clear that we weren’t going to be able to afford a new one this year. Most of the nice ones were between $200 and $300.
But then I had a revelation. A real tree! A real Christmas tree! Why hadn’t I thought of that before? I’d never had one before, and the thought of a real tree seem to fit my values and lifestyle. A real, living tree would seem so much more natural sitting in my living room than a lump of crappy plastic.
And it did. It was lovely, and it smelled divine.
But now, here it is, three days after Christmas, and I just have this awful feeling when I look at it. I’m pretty sure that awful feeling is guilt!
Because now, that beautiful tree is dying. It’s crispy and the needles feel like they could stab through my fingers if I touched too hard. And I think, what do I do with it now? Sure, I’ll take it to a Christmas tree “recycling” program, but…it just doesn’t feel right.
It may seem so silly, but I keep thinking about that tree’s life. I think about the person who planted the tiny seed it grew from. How long did it take to grow to the size it is? How much water did it take? Did it grow outside in the wild? I just keep thinking about the years and resoures that went into making that tree, the peaceful, quiet years it spend growing in solitude, just so it could be cut down to sit in my living room for a month then be thrown away.
I read statistics all the time about resources wasted and chemicals added to the planet making plastics and other “fake stuff.” But I admit that I’m considering contributing to that pollution and waste and going back to the fake tree next year. At least I don’t have to stare the destruction straight in the face. But then again, isn’t that the kind of thinking I’m against?
I just don’t know. Either way seems so silly. To cause harm to living things just to fulfill a holiday tradition that is really pointless if you think about it. But the thought of not having a Christmas tree for my boys just seems so sad.
That’s the trouble with awareness sometimes. It really takes the joy out of some things. But often I feel a different kind of joy replace it. The joy of taking responsibility for my actions and feeling a connection to God’s world.
I guess I’ll just decide what to do when Christmas comes around next year. It’s actually crossed my mind to make our tree out of materials in my recycling bin and have a theme each year. Doesn’t that sound kinda fun? One year, a tree made of Pepsi One cans (my husband’s obsession unfortunately), and the next year, newspapers…