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Today, most people probably know that Christmas is a holiday reminiscent of pagan tradition that predated the birth of Christ. What most probably don’t know, is that the Roman holiday for the winter solstice from which Christmas was born was called Saturnalia, and lasted from the 17th through December 25th. This week long festival was marked by widespread civil disorder, laws were written forbidding any person to be brought up on charges for damaging property or injuring another person during this period, and the Roman courts were closed. Furthermore, each year an individual was elected who represented “the Lord of Misrule.” This person was indulged with physical pleasures of all kinds, and it was believed that in order to destroy the forces of darkness in the world, “the Lord of Misrule” was brutally murdered at the end of the celebration.
But this blog entry is instead about a different kind of murder, the murder of poor innocent defenseless trees. The origins of the decoration of a tree for Christmas within the home, is believed to have begun in Germany during the 16th century. Although there is no definitive evidence for an exact population, person, or place that contributed to its creation.
Contemporaneously there are 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, with over 100,000 people employed in the trade. Each year there are approximately 33 to 36 million Christmas trees produce in the United States alone for the holiday. There are another 50 to 60 trees grown in Europe. Originally Christmas trees were harvested from the wild, but today it is estimated that the majority of trees are farmed for use. It takes 10 years for a Christmas tree to grow to the size desirable for sale to the Christmas consumer. Although the temporary forest created while growing these trees is arguably habitat for fauna, the use of heavy pesticides and herbicides negates most of this benefit in the long term.
Besides the fact that one does not receive the bonuses of the lovely smell of a real tree, artificial trees may reduce the destruction of living trees, but do contribute to environmental pollution. Plastic trees are often made of non-biodegradable plastics like PVC or polyethylene and contain lead, filling landfills with toxic chemicals. 80% of artificial trees are created in China, giving support to foreign markets.
To continue in the tradition of not living like the crazy pagans, we should all consider buying a Living Christmas tree like those sold in the Peaceful Valley Nursery. These trees have the benefits of a real tree, ie. Look and smell. None of the drawbacks such as loosing needles on the carpet, polluting the environment, or contributing to waste. You can also name your tree, making it an addition to you family. This new addition, like your relatives who you only want to see once a year, can be put outside for the remaining 11 months. When your living Christmas tree is too large to fit in the living room, it can be planted outside to continue converting carbon dioxide to oxygen, to beautify your yard, and produce shade. Come by our nursery and take a look at our wonderful living Christmas trees and take one home!