Ok, this will be my last post about the Holidays for 2010 - and a short one at that! It's a little late since it's already 2011, but better late than never!
I struggle with Christmas Trees. I hate to cut down a living thing, but I don't want to buy more plastic from China either. In military housing, a rooted tree isn't really a feasible option, since we can't plant it when we're done. And I just love Christmas Decorating too much to forego the tree altogether.
So, while we are in Hawaii at least, here is the closest thing I can find to balance all of those issues.
It's a Norfolk Pine, from Waimanalo Farms on the North Shore. It's a different experience altogether from cutting down a tree on the mainland. You go to the farm in your shorts, sandals, and sunglasses. You tell them how tall of a tree you want, and then you walk around with a guy and a yardstick, until you find the tree top that you like. They cut the top off for you, and off you go! So here's what I like about these trees, other than the fact that they are local. They grow back! From what they told me at the farm, they grow up to 3 feet a year depending on the rainfall. That's why they only lop off the tops. Pretty cool, right?
Most real trees in Hawaii were cut months ago in the Pacific Northwest, and shipped here in refrigerated containers, and then sold on a lot at the mall. That makes me cringe. And most fake trees were made in China, and shipped to the mainland, and then shipped here. And at some point, they'll be shipped off island again, to meet their landfill demise. That makes me cringe too. The Norfolk Pine isn't a perfect solution, but it's way better than those two choices, so I'm happy with it for now. And icing on the cake - I bought it through a Kokua Foundation Fundraiser, so it did a double dose of good!
We had family in town this year, so space was limited. We put the tree on the lanai, and only used decorations that we felt could handle the outdoors. Mostly, that meant shells I've collected over the years, most found on the beach, but some purchased or given to us, and a few of our less breakable traditional decorations.
The best part about having an outdoor tree was the interest it created with the birds! So I bought some bird treats, made in the USA of course, and put them in the tree. It only took a couple of days for the birds to test it out, and soon, they were hanging out in the tree all day! The best decorations of all!
An that's that. Christmas is over, the decorations are down and stored for next year, and our tree is going to the mulching pile. We had a pretty successful Holiday season, in terms of being green, vegan, and Pro-USA. Our Holiday Dinner was a success, with a few good recipes to keep for next year. I didn't buy an inch of wrapping paper or any new decorations, and I think I did a pretty good job of making everything look festive anyway.
So, here's to 2011! Happy New Year! May it be full of kindness to you, your loved ones, the animals, and the Earth!