Image credit: Huffpost
It’s that time of year again when I hoist myself into the loft and scrabble around for the Christmas decorations. I don’t like the dust, the dead wasps or the cobwebs but it’s all worth it for the wonder of flipping open the old cardboard box and seeing again the motley collection of decorations.
I love them all.
The Fimo snowmen the boys made at junior school, all red and green and with their badly-glued glitter flaking into the tissue paper; the flimsy gold spheres I’ve hoarded since the 70s with their memories of mum and dad; the glorious luxury of my sister’s annual gift of Liberty baubles in glowing colours.
Each one evokes a precious memory and I wouldn’t swap them for the most fabulously fashionable display in Fortnums.
Almost as nostalgic is the Christmas Eve ritual of jamming the biggest, most luxuriantly needled tree I can find in the back of the car and then dragging it into the house to a chorus of shrieks and giggles as the branches poke and the needles prick.
I love the smell and the way a real tree seems to alter the atmosphere in the room.
The only fly in my glittery ointment is the creeping realization of how much waste goes with cut trees.
I don’t really want to think of it because I don’t want to sacrifice my favourite Christmas rituals, but I’ve started to think of other ways to make the joyful mid-winter display.
The obvious option is to buy a growing tree in a pot.
They prefer a cool room but are ideal for someone like me who sticks to the 12 days of Christmas rule: tree in on 24th December and out on the 4th January, no questions asked. Any longer and the tree won’t be happy. But it means you can plant it out in the garden for next year, or keep it in a pot.
Image credit: David Domoney
Another solution is to have a growing tree in the garden. All you need is weather-proof decorations and lights and a big window to see it from – just like William and Kate do at Kensington Palace.
Image credit: Visit London
Or if it’s not so much the tree as the lights, you can invoke magic and tell everyone you waved your wand and called ‘Spruceus invisiblus!’
If you simply have to buy a cut tree you can still contribute to a more responsible ecology by making sure you recycle it. 90% of the 6 million trees we buy each year are not recycled, but most councils have a tree recycling service, either with your normal recycling, or at a local centre. Find out how to do it here.
It means the jewel of your December celebrations will be shredded and used in parks and woodland to put vital nutrients back into the soil. How lovely that your beautiful tree will contribute to other beautiful trees. And the cycle of life goes on…
May your days be merry and bright.