I love a real Christmas tree.
I'd rather skip a Christmas tree than use a fake one. For me, it's the scent of fresh air and evergreen boughs that really “makes” the Christmas tree experience a somewhat profound experience through the course of the Christmas holidays.
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My father, my sister, and my husband all have a knack, as well, for finding trees that can be lifted by their root ball and replanted in a large pot, so that the tree is easily replanted after Christmas and continues to thrive.
(In fact, one year my dad and sister noted that for the health of the forest behind our house, one section of pines needed to be thinned, so they pulled up three or four trees and lashed them together to form one passable Christmas tree. Memorable, most certainly!)
I used to think this was sacrilege for the Christmas Tree Tradition, as the trees tend to be a bit more scraggly than beautiful ones chosen on a mountainside or purchased off a tree lot, but I've definitely changed my thinking about that one, as my children ooh and ahh just as merrily and with as much wonder after we've decorated our potted trees as they do with the cut ones we have to lug around and wrestle into place.
We put up our little Christmas tree this weekend, complete with red sash draped over the not-so-elegant five gallon bucket the tree is planted in, and it's a beautiful sight. My daughter and I basked in the glow of Christmas lights on Saturday night while we sipped decadent homemade hot chocolate and recounted our favorite moments from the performance of Handel's Messiah we had attended earlier in the evening.
This – THIS – is the reason we have Christmas trees, I tell you. 🙂
The DIGITAL Christmas Tree
There's another kind of Christmas tree.
You may have noticed in our Facebook feed if you connect with us there, that this year I've teamed up with Green is Universal and the Arbor Day Foundation as one of their ambassadors to promote the free, fun, December-long activity called #ShareATree.
#ShareATree is an easy, no-need-to-leave-your-seat way to plant a tree this holiday season.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are reading this outside of the month of December, the Green is Universal site will have its “usual” NBCUniversal appearance, but during the Christmas season, it transforms into something quite different. 🙂
1. To plant a tree, you first create a digital Christmas tree at GreenisUniversal.com. It takes about 30 seconds, seriously. (Caveat: There aren't that many options for decorating your tree, but it's fun nonetheless.)
2. Then, you share your tree anywhere on social media using the hashtag #ShareATree. You could also share someone else's tree, including one done by a celebrity, cleverly entitled “Celebratrees,” and you may share as many trees as you like! (Psst: If you retweet someone else’s tree, that counts, too! Here's one option.)
3. At the end of the month, Green is Universal will count up all the hashtags and then the Arbor Day Foundation will plant that many trees AND for every 25,000 digital trees shared, Green is Universal will donate $5,000 to the Arbor Day Foundation. And just in case you're wondering, The Share A Tree Program will help the Arbor Day Foundation plant trees all across the United States in national forests, state forests, and state parks.
Easy peasy, isn't it?
By the way, this is a FANTASTIC activity for kids. My three-year-old, four-year-old, and eight-year-old all beg each morning to create a tree and it has provided wonderful opportunity to talk about trees: why trees are important in our eco-system, the history of Christmas trees, and even tree identification.
So, what's a perfect Christmas tree? you ask.
In my mind, the perfect Christmas tree is one that gathers loved ones together for occasions of joy and laughter, that provides a sense of tradition and connectedness to people, times, and places near-and-dear to us, and that creates opportunity for life to grow – whether it's a needed thinning of trees, like my dad and sister did, or the planting of a new tree, such as with the #ShareATree celebration.
So, that's my definition. How would YOU define “the perfect Christmas tree”?