I have often listened to arguments about what type of Christmas Tree is best and I personally have to admit that I’d rather have no tree at all, than have an artificial one. I was gratified a couple of years ago to hear that a real tree was better for the environment (quick to grow and good for fresh air) and beneficial to the local economy and can also be recycled with every bit of it reused and natural, except for the baubles and tinsel of course.
The next question posed is whether it is possible to keep a rooted tree and grow it, possibly using it again the following year. In the front of our garden we have a lovely healthy little tree which we planted following our first Christmas here five years ago. It is a testament to our new lives here and a constant positive reminder of the times we’ve shared.
The following year we bought a little tree of only about two foot and this didn’t look too healthy after the season was over and so we recycled it at our local facilities.
On the third year we bought a tree on Christmas Eve. It was such a rush that, although it was in a pot, the poor thing was quite lop sided, requiring my husband to carry out remedial work to make it presentable in the early hours of Christmas morning. Still alive, we decided to bring it inside last year too and when it was time to think about buying one this year we had quite a dilemma. We felt sorry for the poor tree, having endured such a cold spell since November that we thought it might be cruel to bring it back into the warm. In the end my husband inspected it and brought it around to shelter of our porch. On Wednesday evening we brought it into the cool kitchen in the hopes that, by the time it faces the warmth of the living room today on Christmas Eve, it will still be a happy tree. Its stay in the house will be a short one, maybe a week at the most, when we will reverse its journey over three days and promise that we will plant it in the spring.
This got me thinking about tree conservation and with two of our neighbours recently removing tall hedgerows in preference to fences, making our outlook at the front all the more bleak, rather than being surrounded by greenery as before, I started to think about one of my favourite subjects, Alderney.
Recently the island has reintroduced Arbor Day, a tradition of planting trees to replace those cut down for domestic purposes, whether it be firewood or building. In fact during the Occupation of the island in WW2 so many trees were chopped down to keep the incumbents war that very few remained.
When I was carrying out some research in the archives of The Alderney Museum back in late October, with the enormous help of their new Curator Francis, I was excited to find pictures of Arbor Day back in 1913 and 1919. It just goes to show that out ways of conservation, which we see as being so new, are only bringing back of the olden days when people respected and understood their environment so much more than we do today.
On that thoughtful note I wish you a Happy Christmas whatever Christmas tree you may have.