A “New” Old-fashioned Christmas Tree

Dec 9, 2021 | 0 comments

Ready! Set! Soon!

There have been several times during my life that we — the general population, that is — have experienced shortages.  Most memorable to me were the years of rationing and belt-tightening during World War II but, even then, we always managed to have a freshly cut Christmas tree.  It was sent to us by my grandfather — all the way to California from the woods (Papa’s woods) just outside of Oysterville.  He never missed a year.

Now, of course, those woods have been sold, developed and probably re-sold and re-developed.  Since living here full-time, myself, I have purchased my annual Christmas tree, usually an eleven-foot Noble Fir.  So, imagine my surprise when a friend called from Bainbridge Island saying he’d had to search and search for a tree and  finally settled for a five-and-a-half foot live tree.  “It’s because  of all the forest fires we’ve had the last few years,” he said.

2019 Christmas Tree

Tuesday, I went to my usual Christmas tree provider and was amazed to find a few Douglas Firs, quite a few Nordmann Firs but ‘nary a  Noble Fir in sight.  “Will you be getting more?” I asked.  “No.  This is it.”  “No Noble Firs this year?” I asked.  “No.  It’s a supply chain thing.  Either that or  Climate Change.”  (Well, I guess the forest fires come under the Climate Change category if  you think about it.)

Yesterday, Tucker helped me pick up the seven-and-a-half foot Nordmann Fir that  I had purchased.  Not only that, he cut a bit off the bottom so it could slurp up water more easily, set it in our Christmas tree stand, and helped put it up on a little table so it’s “almost” as tall as usual.  It’s a lovely little tree and I think will wear our treasured decorations proudly.

Last night, out of curiosity, I looked up Nordmann Fir — a type I’d never heard of before.  This is what I found:  Abies nordmanniana, the Nordmann fir or Caucasian fir, is a fir indigenous to the mountains south and east of the Black Sea, in Turkey, Georgia and the Russian Caucasus.  Named after a botanist from Finland, Alexander von Nordmann, who discovered it growing in Georgia, it is one of the most important species grown for Christmas trees, being favored for its attractive foliage, with needles that are not sharp and do not drop readily when the tree dries out.

Christmas Tree 2016

This morning, though, I had a brief wrestling match with my conscience and wondered if this was the year that we should finally succumb to an artificial tree.  Perhaps it would be better for the environment, I thought.  A bit of research later and this is what I found:
 Although the carbon footprint of a real tree depends on the method of its disposal, it is invariably lower than that of an artificial tree…  you would have to reuse your artificial tree for 12 years to make it greener than a real tree that was burned.

And furthermore, according to the Nature Conservancy:
1.  Real trees don’t require the intensive carbon emissions that it takes to produce and ship artificial trees. (In the U.S., around 10 million artificial trees are purchased each season. Nearly 90 percent of them are shipped across the world from China.)

By A Second Grade Student – 1990

    2. By buying real trees, you’re supporting forests. When these natural trees are harvested for sale, there are more than ten times as many left standing! Out of the 350-500 million growing on tree farms across the U.S., only 30 million trees are harvested for Christmas each year. Buying real trees will help keep tree farms in business – and in turn keep their lands covered in the healthy forest habitat that wildlife depends on to survive.

     3.  Once all the festivities are done, these trees can be recycled and given a second life. Most states have organizations that use these donated Christmas trees for conservation and habitat projects in their local communities. Meanwhile, artificial trees are usually not recyclable and often end up filling our landfills.




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