Celebrating a ‘Real’ Christmas

Sometimes I have conversations with myself.  Debates even. This year one of my ‘self’ conversations was about whether or not to get a real Christmas tree. As you all know, I LOVE plants, so I was struggling with the concept of a tree losing its life just so I could have a fragrant, beautiful tree in my home for a few weeks. 

As I conversed with myself, I perused the internet and stumbled upon the web site for Westlake Tree Farms where I read ‘The 5 Biggest Myths about Christmas Trees.’ What are those myths you ask? Well, here are the three that spoke to me:

Myth #1 – Real Christmas trees are cut down from forests. Wrong. Actually, most trees come from a farm where someone plants them. Each year tree farmers plant one to three seedlings to replace each tree cut down.

Myth #2 – You save a tree by using a fake tree. Not true. Trees are planted specifically to be harvested. Besides, fake trees come in cardboard boxes made from wood pulp; we aren’t exactly saving trees that way.

Myth #3 – It’s better to use a fake tree because you can re-use it each year. According to the Westlake website, most fake trees are only used 6 to 9 years before they end up in the trash bin and eventually, the landfill. Real trees, on the other hand, are biodegradable and recyclable.

With my newfound education, my debate ended and I decided to purchase not one, but two Christmas trees (I have a lot of ornaments). I’ve always liked the Fraser fir the best, so I had my heart set on two of those. I also decided to make a day of it. I’d visit the historic St. Peter’s village, a 19th century industrial town built around iron mining operations in Chester County, Pennsylvania. I’d eat lunch at St. Peter’s Bakery and then head over to Westlake Tree Farm to cut down my trees. My adventure was planned. 

The adorable St. Peter’s Village
St. Peter’s Village was quaint and I thoroughly enjoyed my turkey sandwich and hot herbal tea. Nourished, warmed and energized, with bow saw in hand, I was ready for the tree cutting. When I arrived at Westlake Tree Farm they told me they didn’t have any Fraser firs left. Bummer. Instead I purchased a Canaan fir that was Pennsylvania-grown, but pre-cut. No opportunity to use my saw this time. Since all the other trees they had were too big for me or a type I didn’t want, I headed home, unsure what I would do about my second tree. 

My Canaan fir was a standout
On my way home, I drove past Somerset Nursery, which had a decent selection of pre-cut trees. Somerset had some Fraser firs, but they were on the large side. The sales person showed me another option, a Concolor fir. It was love at first sight. There was something about the long needles and its bluish-green color that attracted me. I could immediately picture it decorated with my treasured ornaments. Also, this eight foot tree was under $50.  A bargain to boot!  Turns out my new love was a big guy though. Some serious muscle was required to secure my Concolor fir for travel. Fortunately, the two nurserymen, supervised by the nursery dog, made it happen. 

It was quite a struggle to contain my Concolor fir

Once home and in their stands, my trees were ready for decorating. I spent the majority of a day stringing lights and hanging memories on the branches. 

My Concolor fir – fully decorated
The well-adorned Canaan fir in my living room
The sign says it all

As the sign at St. Peter’s Village reminded me, ‘Life’s about the Journey.’ I wholeheartedly agree. I thoroughly enjoyed my journey to obtain the perfect Christmas trees, and while it didn’t go exactly as planned, it was a fun adventure and a great way to celebrate the season. I wish all of you pleasant journeys and experiences this holiday season and in the new year.  See you in 2018!

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