Decorating a tree during the holiday season is a long-standing, heartfelt tradition for many people all over the world. If you’re like me, you’ve got a collection of special tree ornaments that have withstood the many tests of time and bring cherished memories to life year after year.
But as with any tradition, cultural shifts and evolving roles in our every day lives have created significant challenges regarding the tradition of putting a up a freshly cut tree. For example, in a household where both parents work, keeping a cut tree well-watered is going to be a significant issue, as well as finding the time to find one and then set it up properly. And what if you want a more “earth-friendly” choice? Thankfully, more options are available than ever for finding the kind of tree that truly suits your needs.
Rent a live tree: If you love a live tree, consider renting one that you’ll return when you’re done enjoying it, or perhaps donate to a local planting program. Many states are offering live tree rental options. If you’re in the Northwest, this link might be helpful: http://gardenmentors.com/ garden-help/plant-focus/christmas-trees-rent-now-plant-later/
Of course, there are pros and cons:
• Pros: Saves trees; biodegradable or can be used in other ways if it dies; practical way to teach
children about conservation and earth stewardship; authentic charm and beauty of a real tree
that a fake tree simply can’t offer.
• Cons: Tree could suffer damage during delivery process or even die; requires care; requires
follow-through for replanting, returning it for future renters, or donating; could be hosting live insects.
Tips: Before making the decision to rent a live tree, check the “fine print” to make sure you’ve got some kind of guarantee if you’re dissatisfied with your tree. Also, make sure that you’ll be able to care for the tree according to the instructions before committing to taking it into your home.
Purchase a fake tree: Fake trees have been around for a long time, but manufacturers seem to get more creative every year with the types and sizes that are available, and also making these trees look more real than ever. Again, there are pros and cons:
• Pros: Lasts for many years, so you’ll save time looking for a tree each year; discounted trees
can be found after the holiday season and stored for the following year; discounted trees can
often be found in want ads or thrift stores; no care required to keep it alive.
• Cons: Eventually it will need to be thrown away, and it will take up space in a land fill; needs to be stored during the off-season in a place where it won’t become damaged; depending on the model, assembly might be time-consuming; may not have an authentic look; lacks the pleasant scent of a live tree.
Tips: Check buying/selling sites and thrift stores in your area for a discounted tree before heading to local home and garden stores to purchase one. If you purchase a tree that requires inserting branches into the “trunk,” play around with it to make it look more real. For example, place some of the shorter branches where longer branches should go (and vice versa) for a more authentic look. You can even leave some branches out to create more hanging spaces for ornaments and garlands. Just be careful to create an even weight distribution or your tree might tip over.
Whatever you decide, enjoy the festivities of this holiday season!