First of all, Merry Christmas! For many, this Christmas season is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ – the Lord and Savior - in a manger in a rickety old stable several thousand years ago.
Yet Christmas means even more for those blessed to have been Christmas tree growers, like my family. For more than 50 years, the Blake family’s “choose-and-cut” tree farm in central Mississippi grew Christmas trees extraordinaire from the ‘ground up.’
Each Christmas, trees adorned hundreds of homes in the greater Jackson area, the State Capitol rotunda, and the Governor’s mansion. A Blake tree never graced the White House though.
Like any farm, growing trees for Christmas was hard work. The yearlong process began with planting trees on hillsides in January amid cold temperatures, plus rain, sleet, and even snow.
This was followed by great tree-growing weather - 100 degree summer days with a million percent humidity (it felt like it – drip drip) and zillions of mosquitos, followed by early fall tree plot mowing and huge fire ant beds. Watch your step - you get the picture.
In mid-November, the ring-a-ding-ding from the Blake home phone increased more each passing day as families inquired about loading up the family and coming to the Blake farm. It was the oldest Christmas tree farm in the state where people would choose and cut the perfect Christmas tree with a handsaw.
Our operation was ‘local’ way before ‘Buy Local’ was cool today, with most customers within a 25-mile parameter.
Today, consumers have two tree choices at Christmas time - buying a real tree, or buying an artificial tree at Wally World or another retailer. Here are several things to ponder before buying a Christmas tree.
Unless a family member has a tree allergy, a real Christmas tree with its pure odorific tree smell beats the pants off the artificial version - hands down. Warning - smelling plastic branches may deliver an unwelcome petroleum ‘high.’ Sniff away at a real tree as the divine odor permeates the home. Contest over.
Remember that real trees are sustainable. God pampers real trees with natural sunshine, soil, and water. After Christmas, a real tree can be recycled into compost, firewood, and kindling.
Now that’s a sustainable Christmas!