Lawn Tree Traditions: Greening up the Neighborhood

mother and son

Mother and son

If you drop by this week, you’ll see Christmas trees up and down the block. Our neighborhood has an extensive and coordinated effort to display cut Christmas trees on our lawn each year. The trees go up the first week of December and come down New Year’s day. I’m the block captain for our street.

We try to make it a family affair, but now that our boys are teens, their interest wanes.  This year my older son did the heavy lifting along with his dad, dropping trees at each house while I drove the truck.  My youngest son asked if he could stay in bed!  So it goes.

the muscle

The Muscle

Our neighbor, Greg lends us his truck for deliveries.  I get to dust off my manual transmission driving skills once a year.  It keeps me in the game.

christmas tree bundles

Ready for delivery

The Bay Area is diverse.  Not all neighbors celebrate this tradition.  When I was a young, I wondered why one or two people wouldn’t want a tree in their yard.  Then I grew up and understood that the world is full of different religions and cultures and it all made sense.  We see Menorah in neighboring windows and understand others simply don’t embrace the ritual.  It’s a great time of year to pause and reflect on the richness of diversity.

We have an artificial tree indoors, and a cut tree on the lawn.  I wrote about the pros and cons of real vs fake last year.  You can read more about that here.

Do you celebrate Christmas?  Do you display a tree?  Real or fake…or both?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments, below.

Organized at Heart

I’m posting a series of articles featuring organizing around the holidays this month on my blog Organized at Heart. If the subject interests you, please go take a peak. Today’s blog: Holiday Storage: The Case of the Shrinking House. 

Of note: Wikipedia has a wonderful and detailed article on the origins of the decorated Christmas tree.  I’m always learning something new on that site and must remember to make my annual donation accordingly.

The Christmas Tree Dilemma: Real or Fake?

The Crew: Ready to deliver the neighborhood trees

The Crew: Ready to deliver the neighborhood trees

I struggle with this question every year: Is it better to have a freshly cut tree or an artificial one?  I think the answer is neither. Or both.

Aren’t you glad we got that settled?!

As a nature-lover, I’m not fond of the idea of cutting down a tree each year, only to throw it away (or at the very least compost it) after a few weeks. People float the idea of a live tree that you bring indoors each year, but given the size of the average pine or fir, the tree would outgrow your home in a few years. Further, the tree would do poorly in a dry, heated home, preferring the outdoors instead.

Clearly, artificial trees are the way to go.

Or are they?

Fluffy Under the Tree

Fluffy Under the Tree

Artificial trees last a long time. You can use them year after year, they never dry out, they’re less likely to catch fire and they’re sized for the average home. They are, however, made from synthetic materials, that will one day end up in a landfill. Styles change, the frame of the tree might break or you may buy a bigger (or smaller) house that dictates the size of the tree.

In our neighborhood, we have a coordinated effort to display cut trees on our lawn each year.  The trees go up the first week of December and come down New Year’s day. I’m block captain for our street, and we make it a family affair. We borrow a neighbor’s truck, load up the trees, and delivery them up and down the block.  The neighborhood coordinator purchases over 300 trees.  Each block captain collects the order forms, deposits the checks and then delivers the trees.  It’s fun and festive.

Indoors we have an artificial tree that we store and use year after year. We made that choice for all the reasons I mentioned above. So…I feel like a fraud at times, supporting different choices on either side of the door.

One choice isn’t really a choice at all: simply giving up the long-held and delightful tradition of a Christmas tree.

If you celebrate Christmas, do you put up a tree each year?  Real or fake?

Here is what others have to say: