Oh, Christmas Tree

I didn’t grow up with the smell of pine filling the air during Christmas, perhaps this is also the reason why I am not so attached to Christmas trees, unlike many Germans I know. For some people, a pine tree is a MUST for Christmas, and some go so far as to insist on using BURNING CANDLES instead of electric lights for their Christmas tree. My first Christmas here was spent nervously eyeing the candles on the tree. (Yes, electric lights can be dangerous, but I feel that the risk is much, much less!). I also gave my Mother-in-Law a long, hard incredulous look when she told me that the tinsel she used were partially produced with lead. she inherited it from her family. Yikes. But I digress.

I am perfectly content with a plastic tree. One must think I’m nuts for this, but think about it.

The pine tree you are using took ten years to grow, whether in a Christmas tree farm, or in the forest where you, my friend, have illegally cut it from. All that work for one day where the tree is to be cut down and turned into wood chips three weeks later. I know some people feel guilty for it, since I would often see trees of Christmas past in the front yards and empty spaces of German homes and offices.

From what I understand, some pine species are very invasive, edging out local tree varieties and threatening the variety of forests, vital to a healthy ecosystem. Pine trees have a special chemical in their sap that prevent any other species from growing in their vicinity, including other pine trees. Speaking of variety, I am also wary of monoculture, which is effectively what Christmas tree farms are: the monoculture of pine trees.

There are advantages of using pine wood. They are plentiful and easy to grow. Using pine trees as Christmas trees do cut down on their prevalence, but it is offset by the popularity of pine during Christmas, and being planted by the hundreds in these farms. I know that this is the livelihood of many families, but there must be some kind of balance to this

For those who can’t live without that pine smell, how about getting a potted Christmas tree? I think it is more ecologically sound than getting a cut pine tree year after year. Maybe even better than using a plastic one. What do you think?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.