Monday, November 28, 2011

One tree, two tree, three tree, four.

Route 111 joins my house with a beautiful little trout stream. Along the way it passes through forests and brown fields and all the trappings of suburbia and it crosses another small river that never seems to fish as well as it promises. Driving back Saturday evening from Brook Char water I began to see them. It's after Thanksgiving so I don't begrudge them their joy, but I still feel it's a bit too early to see Christmas trees on top of minivans and SUVs.

We have a one tree house; one real tree goes in the dining room. The other rooms can't accommodate a Christmas tree* without some piece of furniture being moved into some other space. And then the other space will be too damn crowded for humans. I suppose that's our own fault; we happen to like furniture.

We're not decorators. You won't find icicle lights on our eaves or a glowing Rudolph on our roof. The only decorations visible from the street are white window lights and a small fake tree out on the porch. We got that dwarf tree a decade ago when we arrived home from a trip on Christmas Eve and couldn't find a real tree anywhere. I bought that fake tree, fully decorated, from the window of a local shop. We put a garbage bag over it, put it in the trunk, and it made a fine home for presents the next morning. I've often thought of replacing that fake tree with a small real tree but that's just one more thing to buy and to care for and to dispose of after the holiday.

Saturday, while Sam and I drove back from the char stream on Route 111 we passed many vehicles driving home with conifers lashed to their roofs. Again, I have no problem with this as long as it's after turkey day.  I expect some folks likely have tree erection traditions that practically require the purchase of evergreen products within forty-eight hours of Tryptophan poisoning.

What surprised me was the frequency of vehicles with multiple trees. At first I suspected that they were picking trees up for a disabled relative or a recluse neighbor. Then I considered that perhaps, like me, they were replacing that small fake tree on their porch with a proper tree. But then I began to see vehicles with three, and even four, trees.


How many trees does one need to slay in order to properly celebrate the birth of Christ?

And then it struck me.

If one purchased a 6,000 square foot house mansion inferiority complex on a half acre of property with a sub-prime mortgage funded by taxpayers you have plenty of room in which to put more than one tree. And owning such a behemoth you probably aren't giving too much thought to conservation or any of that other drivel.

Consumption has gotten out of hand. I had hoped that the global economic crisis and unemployment and a general good look in the mirror might have caused one or more of us to decide that more of everything wasn't the goal of our existence. That maybe we'd give some thought to how we got here, what it means for our future, and how we might do things differently. But that's just Pollyanna bullshit. Consumption is King baby.

I'm sticking with one tree.

* At least of the "correct" proportions.


  1. Ramblings:
    We buy a permit and head out to the forest to cut a tree every Friday after Thanksgiving. It's turned into a nice family tradition. Me, I like the $10 price tag (I refuse to pay $65-$100 for Christmas tree). Limit, two trees, one of the only smart things the forest service has ever done. Otherwise gluttony would surely ensue.

    I still like ice cycles, those tiny strips of tin foil you have to hang one piece at a time on every branch. It's the same stuff that jumps off the tree and clings to everything you're wearing due to static electricity, even the dog.

    My tree is adorned with ornaments my kids made, not the latest Ralph Lauren matching tree fashion statement that requires replacement every other year to stay in style. I still have a few ornaments my mother made before she passed away, and one or two my grandmother and great grandmother handcrafted before there were stores that were entirely dedicated to Christmas stuff, THAT ARE OPEN ALL YEAR! Seriously...WTF?

    We still like popcorn and cranberry string garland. We make it every year after Thanksgiving dinner while watching Christmas Vacation and Home Alone 1,2,3. One of the kids always stabs themselves with a needle, but they keep coming back for more, so I figure I'm onto something.

    I was forced to go to the mall for some things I needed the Saturday before Holloween. I figured I was safe as I was surly ahead of the holiday tide. I was sadly mistaken as I entered a shoulder to shoulder torrent of Christmas chaos. I don't think we're getting the message from the current economic climate. What we need is a good old fashion plague. Time to cull the heard a bit. We've all gone stark raving mad.

    There you have it, a new record for a blog comment.

  2. Things just haven't been the same for you recently, have they? I'm sorry, I really am.

    We'll just have to go back.


  3. Gary: Thanks for the thoughts. And, yes, you win for longest comment so far.

    E.J.: Char report forthcoming. And, yes, I haven't been the same. I blame you, mostly.

  4. One tree for me too...which I will cut down from my own property in the next week or so, thinning out some groves of small pines. Fire mitigation AND decorating for Christmas at the same time. And I wholeheartedly agree with what Gary said...the world's gone mad...we need a plague.

  5. One's enough...and per Gary, the world has certainly gone mad. Remember to pack some pepper spray.