Holidays are over, and I'm finally back in Brooklyn after a very loooong visit with my parents, grandparents, sister and cousins. I spent nearly five days in the suburbs for Christmas! FIVE! Thank goodness I'm home.
Now that I'm crafting a home with my new Domestic Partner, I'm making some discoveries. (Sidenote: I borrowed the phrase "crafting a home" from a cute DIY home blog and I need to give props to the blogger Kim. It describes me perfectly!) I'm doing a lot of new things in this home that I never did before, such as sharing a bedroom (which means no more pink lace comforter) and sharing my food (guess who ate all the Pignoli cookies?!) (Ok ok, it was me. If I don't confess, he'll start a rant in the comments). BUT I DIGRESS!
What I'm saying is, this is the first time I've had my own Christmas tree! I never had one in my early twenties because I needed to save my money for drugs (KIDDING, MOM), and then I had a Jewish roommate for 5 years who didn't want one and it didn't really bother me. For Christmas 2011, we decided to go with a teensy apartment-sized potted-plant tree. It is literally 2 feet tall and I love it.
I chose a live Christmas tree in a pot because I love houseplants, so I hope to keep this lil' guy all year 'round and he'll grow a little big bigger each Christmas. It will be pretty neat 15 years from now to say, "We've had a home together long enough that our Christmas tree is now 4-feet tall!" But also, it's very possible that I can't give it enough light and nutrients indoors and it will die on me by Valentine's Day. Here's a good blog entry on the Norfolk Island Pine, a "year round Christmas tree".
I've always had mixed feelings in general about the whole concept of a Christmas tree. If you get down to the basics, the tradition of Christmas trees simply involves cutting down a 15-year old evergreen tree so that you can keep it in your house for 3 weeks and then get rid of it. Tree murder! Additionally, Christmas trees are a real fire hazard: The NFPA quotes an average of 240 home fires each year that start from Christmas trees, which basically become tall piles of dry fire wood after a few weeks indoors.
Despite all of this, artifical trees are no better. They are actually less eco-friendly than real trees because they produce more greenhouse gases and are made of plastic, which uses more water and other resources to produce, and can't be recycled when you're done with them.
So even though I thought I was anti-Christmas tree for a while, my official position is now: If you're gonna get a tree, get a real one, and get it from a farm. Christmas tree farms eliminate the need to cut trees from forests and create habitats for animals, help reduce soil erosion, produce oxygen, and of course, the trees can be recycled in many ways.
Here's how you can safely and sustainably dispose of your Christmas tree (and do a little good at the same time):