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I need some help. I can’t figure out the Christmas tree situation.
Look at the facts: we buy 30 million cut trees every year, and we plant 90 million trees a year. We buy 8 million artificial trees a year, and those of us lucky enough to live up here are surrounded by millions of trees suitable for putting up in a living room. Unless something changes, within 20 years every family in America will have at least one artificial Christmas tree, and we will have a whole bunch of real trees left over. It’s possible, of course, that we may trade in our old, out-of-date 161 tip model for the new, deluxe 226 tip model.
Maybe that’s what’s in our Christmas Future: used Christmas tree lots.
My barber has had an artificial tree for the past four years. Another friend went to Boulder and bought a tree from Wisconsin. I have seen several weirdos cruising my road looking for a tree to steal; they apparently don’t realize that at 8,400 feet a six-foot Christmas tree is at least 30 years old. This isn’t just cutting a Christmas tree; it’s tree murder.
I have a hard time under standing people who spend an entire day in their $15,000 four-wheel drive vehicles stealing a $30 Christmas tree. How do they relate this activity to the spirit of Christmas? How can you celebrate the birth of Christ and enjoy presents opened under a stolen tree?
Perhaps, as has been suggested by others, our best alternative is a living tree. This is a tricky proposition if it involves a potted tree, subject to freezing, drying out and other problems we haven’t discovered. Still, it’s an appealing solution to the problem.
Most of us feel guilty about using up a real tree, and an artificial tree is hard to explain to Aunt Agnes in Florida.
This year we’re going to buy a tree. We’re not really happy about it, but Mary L. won’t have an artificial tree in the house, and I haven’t been able to find a tree on our property I’m willing to sacrifice. Unless I come up with something truly novel, I think this means we buy a tree. This involves an expedition, the usual problems involving how to tie it onto the car, considerable frowning if not raised eyebrows, when viewing the price tags and the inevitable finding that the tree is (a) too tall, which means cutting off several inches, at megabucks per inch, or, (b) that the trunk is too big for our stand.
I have several Christmas tree stands. None is big enough for the smallest trunk of any tree I’ve ever bought. Solving this dilemma involves a lot of hacking at the trunk of the tree and language unbecoming to the season.
Thirty million Americans can’t be wrong. Neither can eight million Americans, but I don’t really want to be a member of either group.
Next year I’m really going to work on the problem. [The next year we bought an artificial tree]
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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