Every year when I was growing up, the moment we ate the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers, we three kids started to pester my parents to put up our Christmas tree. Usually the deal was that we could put up the Christmas tree once we had raked the entire backyard. Now, this wasn't just any backyard. It was huge. And full of big, leaf-dropping trees. So raking the backyard could easily take a whole day or a whole weekend. And if the wind started blowing or we started jumping in the piles, we quickly found ourselves back at the starting line. So Christmas tree time usually didn't come until mid-December.
When I was a kid, we had an artificial tree. Now that I have my own home, I buy real Christmas trees (usually the first weekend in December)—partially because I think it is more environmentally friendly, but also because I don't think anything smells as wonderful as a fresh Fraser fir in the living room. But there are other choices, too.
REAL CUT TREE
Real cut pine, fir and spruce trees are a renewable resource, since new trees can be planted each year. Make an even greener choice by opting for Mississippi-grown trees that haven't been shipped as far and trees that have been grown without pesticides. Buy your Mississippi-grown Christmas tree from the Mississippi Farmer's Market Saturdays from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The varieties of chemical-free trees include Leyland cypress, Virginia pine, Carolina sapphire, red cedar and blue ice. And don't forget to think green on the other end, too. You can compost your tree in your backyard, or you can take it to a City of Jackson drop-off to recycle your tree into mulch.
REAL LIVE TREE
Buy a live, potted Christmas tree to decorate this year. Plant it out in your yard after the holidays or keep it alive inside year-round by a sunny window. Or choose a tree in your yard to decorate for the birds. Make popcorn and cranberry garlands. Hang pinecones coated in peanut butter and birdseed.
REAL TREE BRANCH
Find a dried branch with character with lots of smaller branches for hanging ornaments.
USED FAKE TREE
Look for used Christmas trees at local thrift stores.
NEW FAKE TREE
These are the least desireable option, since most fake trees are made in China with petroleum-based plastics. If you must buy a new fake tree, buy one that will last a long time. You will need to use it for at least 15 years to negate the environmental costs compared to 15 years of real trees.
Do you have any ideas for green tree decorating?
Real, cut trees can also be used aquatic habitats. Area lakes usually announce collection programs the week after Christmas.