O (Green) Christmas Tree

If I may interrupt these O Antiphon days of Advent with an alternate "O," I'd like to remind us that Christmas need not be filled with waste, and that there are some wonderful ways we can make Christmas simpler and more meaningful while reducing the mess we leave behind. The Ecology Center's Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season has some good suggestions for simple time-talent-(and not so much) treasure gift giving; creative and fun gift wrapping, etc.

As for our Christmas Tree--O Christmas Tree--you'll read

It takes 7 to 10 years to grow a Christmas tree, whose useful product life is about one month. Christmas trees are usually grown on tree farms that use large amounts of pesticides and petrochemical fertilizers. These toxic chemicals pollute the land and waterways and can poison wildlife. At the end of the Christmas season, the cut tree is disposed of either in the landfill or through a yard waste program.

A better choice is to use a live potted tree that can be used over the years or can be replanted. If you do pick a cut tree, be sure to set it out on the curb for your city plant debris collection day. Lots of people also get creative by making wreaths or dressing up rosemary and other plants in place of a tree.
I was impressed that this group did not come right out and suggest banning all real Christmas trees, but some do. And that's unfortunate. Sure, not every Christmas tree grower is on the up-and-up, and the whole thing stems from a pagan tradition, but still ... a real tree living (whether cut and in water or, preferably, a pot for use again and again) is a beautiful way of reminding us what Christ's entry into human history means for all creation. And for the many among us who don't get to appreciate the great outdoors, for whatever reason, incorporating a live tree into the Christmas season can make one appreciate the glory of nature, up close and personal.

And anyway, are real, cut trees all that bad? Not really.

So trim your live tree free of guilt, sit back, breath deep of the pine, and enjoy. When you're done, make sure to take the tree out of your home in the same way as when you brought it in--without any tinsel or hooks, so that it can be recycled and composted all the more easier, and live on in more than just the quiet joy of fond memories.

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Catholic Ecology posts my regular column in the Rhode Island Catholic, as well as scientific and theological commentary about the latest eco-news, both within and outside of the Catholic Church. What is contained herein is but one person's attempt to teach and defend the Church's teachings - ecological and otherwise. As such, I offer all contents of this blog for approval of the bishops of the Church. It is my hope that nothing herein will lead anyone astray from truth.