Decorating the Christmas tree has always been one of my favourite parts of the holidays. Even after I moved away for school my parents would wait (even until the 20th of December) for me to get home and decorate the tree, listening to Christmas music and drinking spiced eggnog.
This year will be our first away from family, trees and traditions. We considered just not going through the hassle and money that having a tree would have. We're not Christian, so why go through traditions that make no sense for us?
Except... Christmas trees are not in any way Christian... they are in fact very pagan. From ancient Egypt, Greece and Germany pagans have been decorating trees during the winter solstice season to celebrate and worship respective gods and goddesses (see Mrs. B's post for more details). So we are taking back the pagan holiday tree-WOOT!
First off though is the choice in tree. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, there has been some debate over what is better for the environment- chopping down a tree or buying plastic.
Let's take a quick look:
Fake tree:Made from plastic (aka petroleum), requires toxic chemicals and more petroleum for energy to create, shipping involves loads of carbon via trucks and ships and the tree *might* last 20 years (while the plastic lasts forever). These trees may be convenient in the short term, unless you consider the nice plastic off-gas that will increase your home's dirty air level and the trees ultimate end in our beautiful green world.
Real tree:1. Locally grown organic trees: yep they exist! As opposed to the scary cutting down of trees like clear cutting, these farmed trees can be sustainably grown to increase habitat for wildlife, richness in soil from the roots and the filtering of our air. Organically grown trees won't involve toxic pesticides. Best choice of the best!
2. Locally farmed tree, non-organic. This option is still a better choice in my opinion than a fake plastic toxic monstrosity (ok, I like real trees- is it obvious?). Although the farmer probably used pesticides to grow your tree, it still provides habitat, soil protection and carbon filtering. Buying a locally grown tree is key here as it decreases the shipping footprint.
3. The third extra option is to either get a potted tree to plant outside after the holiday season or decorate an outside tree (with sustainable materials! don't want the squirrels eating that plastic tinsel!). Just make sure that the potted tree you buy will actually grow in your climate. Sobey's here in Atlantic Canada sells these terrible little potted trees that are sprayed with glitter (ick) and not even indigenous to this growing region. Awesome.
Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market- check out the pretty pretty windmills!!
Andrew and I chose option numéro un: Locally grown organic tree! YAY!
Where to find one in Halifax? The Ecology Action Centre is selling Lunenburg grown organic trees- and it was UBER easy to purchase one. Tree's typically sell for about 20$, certified organic trees are 30-35 (depending on size) which really isn't that big of a deal, two yoga classes for a planet friendly tree! You can easily order a tree online at the EAC's site- but we had a few questions for them so we ran down to the new Halifax Farmer's Market.
The very nice man who posed for a blog photo! Thanks Ecology Action Centre dude! :)
The nice girl at the booth assured us that although on their site it says 'regular tree' and 'large organic tree' that all trees are certified organic. They also informed us that they were grown at a Lunenburg farm and not shipped from some far off place. Perfect! Our tree will be ready for pick next Saturday between 9-1pm... hopefully we can strap it to my tiny hatchback or find a really small apartment sized tree.... :)
I am so happy to be at the market on a Sunday! Not busy and still able to buy locally- YES!
If you live in HRM hurry hurry to order your tree though! Ordering closes December 6th (tomorrow) at noon!! Of course, if you're reading this too late, you can always bookmark the site and order one next year!
Now... sustainable Yulemas tree decoration action plan-GO!
article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com