Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Love 'Em and Leave 'Em

The discarded Christmas trees are already beginning to appear on curbs around the city. Defrocked and abandoned ingloriously, they lie in wait like sad carcasses for the trash collectors. The same trees that were selected so carefully just days before now repose in disgrace, bits of tinsel still clinging to their branches a mere day after Christmas.

Man, that's cold. It's bad enough that they were chopped down in their prime, in some cases, their infancy, but to dispose of them so quickly, without ceremony, seems heartless.

I know most of them come from Christmas tree farms, but is that any better than killing minks who were grown for their pelts on so-called mink farms? I don't wear fur, either.

I think of Native American hunters who thanked an animal for "giving-away" for them after they killed it. When a plant was uprooted for food or medicine, they sprinkled a little tobacco in the cavity left in the ground as payment. They believed in giving something back for a life taken.

And so should we. There should be a ceremony for saying goodbye to a magnificent creation like a tree that added so much joy to our holiday, that suffered the indignity of being dressed in baubles while lighting up our living rooms and our hearts.

It doesn't seem right to come upon their sad hulks dragged to roadsides and dumpsters when their services are no longer needed. They should at least be recycled as landfill so their lives are more meaningful than this. We need to learn some respect.


zorak163 said...

I feel about this like I feel about hunting - neither is necessary anymore. Americans do no need to hunt to survive nor do we need to chop down trees to have a christmas tree.
We do need to learn more respect...

heartinsanfrancisco said...


That's a great analogy. Chopping down trees in this day and age IS like hunting when there's a supermarket on the corner.

Thank you so much for your input.

Nihilistic said...

Live tree! Then you plant it after the Holiday! Only way to go!

Pickled Olives said...

I second your opinion! I use a fake tree mostly because I am lazy. But also becuse a real tree stopped feeling right a long time ago.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I like to do that, or to decorate a large houseplant. It's just wrong to kill trees frivolously.


It's not lazy to have a conscience. I don't really care for artificial plants of any kind but I have many real ones, some of which nearly top the ceiling. So I can choose whether to have a Christmas ficus, palm or Norfolk pine.

seventh sister said...

I wonder where the dryads go when the tree is cut dow? do they stay around for the decorating? do they stay with the tree when it is thrown out> Or so they go into the ground and wait for another tree to sprout?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Sister 7,

I think dryads were so symbiotically connected to their trees that they died when the tree did. Sad.

We are so very careless of life in all its forms.

Le Nightowl said...

People should think about this BEFORE they bought the tree :)
Ah well, some things will never change.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


People should think about a LOT of things before they do them. Plus c'a change.

Odat said...

So typically American....instant gratification....then waste.

Stewart Sternberg said...

That's why I have an artificial tree..that and the fact that I'm allergic. And that I'm not a Christian and really don't celebrate Christmas...But still. It always bothered me to see Christmas trees torn down and shoved into a stand to be humiliated with tinsel and bits of bric a brac that no one would dare display anywhere at any other time of year. Why does Christmas encourage bad taste?

And while I'm on a post Christmas rant..can we stop buying these stupid blow up lawn decorations. Dear GOD. If I'm buying something blow up, she better be lifesize and realistic.

Throughout the holiday season, you drive by these peoples' homes and see their lawns covered with deflated santas, snowmen, and reindeer. How many frickin' blow dolls do you need to show the world you're in the holiday spirit?Bad enough we had to tolerate that for Halloween, now its Christmas..and Easter? Soon we'll be doing blow up dead guys for Memorial Day.

furiousBall said...

we actually decorate a dolphin that we ensnared in our tuna net now, much better for the trees.

Bob said...

It is sad to see the carcass of Christmas lying beside the road. Like it just got hit by the Consumer semi.

This year we weren't in a holiday mood, but bowing to the season somewhat we bought a 3 foot fiber-optic tree. It's pretty in the dark with the changing colors and goes back in the box when we are ready.

Around here, the real trees are collected to either be mulched or to be put in ponds to create new fish beds.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Well said, Odat. Well said.


I don't think Christmas encourages bad taste; it enables it. If people have bad taste, it will manifest every chance it gets, and Christmas is the year's best excuse.

Dead guy blow ups for Memorial Day. Brilliant idea. Have you written to your Congressman to suggest it? Maybe in California, we could have a blow up Arnold on July 4th, and actually blow it up.


It sounds as if you've solved the problem. So humane of you. I'm glad someone is thinking about the trees.


I like your phrase, "the carcass of Christmas." The mulching program is an excellent idea, which should be more widespread.

I hope Stripe pulls through. I'm sorry that you and Laura are going through this, and especially, that she has had such a terrible double whammy.

monicker said...

I've stopped getting live trees ever since I saw a news clip showing the selection of the Christmas tree for Rockefeller Center. It broke my heart to see that a large, beautiful tree would be toppled every year.

Liz said...

Only one person I know here in LA got a real Christmas tree this year. Last year one friend bought a real tree at Home Depot. She took it home, unwrapped it and a huge rat jumped out and onto her five year-old's head. Her kids were so traumatized that they begged her not to get a tree this year, not even a fake one.

I wonder what's environmentally worse, chopping down, using and discarding a real tree or the chemicals used to make the fake tree.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I'm from NY, and It always broke my heart to think of all the years such a big tree had been growing -- for this. The Nation's Christmas tree is another magnificent, huge elder that dies for our sins every year.


That is a truly ghastly story. I'm sure those children will never be able to see a Christmas tree without remembering it. It will be with me for a long time as well.

Your point about the chemicals used to make artificial ones is excellent. I think if it can't be the real thing, (and it shouldn't be,) what is the point in a fake one with, perhaps, pine-scented car freshener in it?

jali said...

I will say this for the state of Georgia - they've been really promoting the recycling of trees - beginning Jan 6th.

What a waste to toss the trees out the day after the holiday.

I like live trees too, and planting it is an excellent choice. I never considered it before.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Glad to hear that Georgia does that. Every state should. And I agree that planting live ones is the best idea of all.

I hope your holiday was great!

Open Grove Claudia said...

We used to burn ours... but can't do it here in Denver due to the fire bans.

I felt so strongly about it this year, we didn't buy a tree. We decorated a tiny Norfolk pine and called it good.

curmudgeon said...

I'll spill a little gas on the gas station driveway the next time I fill up my tank, in honor of the crude oil used to create my artificial tree.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Good job! Norfolk pines make wonderful small Christmas trees. I call it good, too.


Wow! You would deliberately spill gasoline at $40 a gallon? I admire your devotion to principle.

velvet girl said...

As a kid, I always felt so awful about discarding the tree. One year, my parents took it to a place where they offered to put it through a chipper so that you could mulch your garden with it. It was really traumatizing for me to watch, but we did have pretty bits of tinsel under our bushes that year.

We haven't done real trees in a while now, but I still feel sad watching those huge trucks of trees roll into town during the holidays.