Oh (NO!) Tannenbaum

Ok, so, Christmas is over (a universal congratulations to all!) and you now find yourself staring at that once lovely, sparkly, Olfactorily stimulating fir tree looking a little dry, a little dusty maybe even a little bit sad over there in your living room. There even may be a ring of green needles expanding from radius to perimeter. Poor guy.

Ok, so, yes, clean-up is going to be a little messy- just like every other year. And I feel like I can sum-up what most peoples’ reaction to this post-holiday burden tends to be (a deduction based on 6 or so years of observation), “I DONT CARE HOW WE GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE, JUST GET IT OUTAHEAH.”  I can only imagine this declaration with overly dramatic gesticulations, flailing arms & teeth grinding due to the (I’m sorry to say) irrational, Blasphemetic & holy-crap-so IGNORANT practice of:



putting. a. tree. in. a. plastic. bag.

I pause.

…ever longer still……

And now for some deep breathing.

My apologies for getting so worked up about this, but seeing beautiful trees wrapped in these offensively huge plastic bags really chaps my @ss.  Not only are you purchasing a HUGE plastic bag, but you are also wrapping up a natural, decompostable organism, that has the potential to enrich soil, protect plants and at the same time, house & feed wildlife. (I guess some “overly dramatic gesticulations, flailing arms & teeth grinding” is in order at this part of my post.)

I understand that clean-up can be a little overwhelming (you should have seen my landlord the other night- WOW) but that’s nothing a hot-toddy and some Django Reinhardt can’t turn into a good time with the one you love.

Now, perhaps folks just don’t think about this as being an issue. To a certain degree I can understand (?—maybe…), as we are all feathering back to earth from this post-holiday exhale. But I honestly believe that there should be a certain level of common sense amongst all of us here in the Commonwealth concerning this issue. But there isn’t. So I exclaim!: Buck-up and get your nudie trees outside.

Here’s why:

The CITY OF BOSTON will pick up your sexy, naked trees and turn them into even sexier mulch. This mulch is packed with beneficial nutrients and has the potential to be spread in city parks and other local gardens, providing a place for kids to play, a tree root protector or for weed suppression. These uses should also deter folks from spraying trees with longevity or scented chemicals, white frosty paint, etc….

Thank you Boston, Somerville & Cambridge for this service! (NOTE: Tree pick-up lasts until the end of the first two weeks in Jan.)


Now, for all of you out there who are looking to get a little bit more life and/or meaning from your lovely Christmas trees, I have a few little hints, tips and ideas to keep the spirit of the tree still tingling:

  • For gardeners! Using your pruners, you can cut each branch back to the trunk and lay them over delicate root bases (ie, roses) and other perennials. These will protect plants from heavy snow loads and will also help enrich the soil come spring.
  • Fun with kids (or not!) Take your tree outside (stand and all) and wrap it with a string of popcorn, or dried berries or peanut covered pine cones. Birds will have a field day and your cats will make that cute little coo-ing noise at the window for days.
  • Land owners! Just throw your tree into the woods and let it decompose naturally. Creatures will also have a sweet little house to nest in and feed from.
  • Land owners with ponds! Fallen trees are essential for aquatic habitats. Lay your tree into the wetland and let it provide shelter for fish and beavers, etc.

If there are any of you out there who love love love the holiday, love the decorations but don’t want to deal cutting down or killing a tree (me) or deal with any of the mess (errr…me again) there is still hope and fun and creativity to be had!

A few suggestions:


Get outside and peek around your backyard, local park (shhhh) or outdoor space. Search for a large fallen and interestingly shaped branch. When you get home, mount it and let it swoop and bend along the curve of your wall. Dress it with a few of your favorite ornaments and string of lights as a cool focal point.

Be creative with plants and tables and other doo-dads you have around the house. Throw some lights on them and BAM.Image

Or, maybe you needed to do some pruning around your property anyways in preparation for another brutal New England winter storm. Saw off a limb, a superfluous branch, mount it and have fun!

Either/Anyway, let’s remember to always be conscious of what we uproot from the soil and to make sure that we take responsibility for giving it back. And for us to try to reduce the number of trees that we cut down each year (25-35 million). We have awesome brains, wicked crafty hands and an endless supply of recyclables. Use em.

If you have any interesting ideas (and I know you guys do, I’ve SEEN them!), please feel free to show and/or tell!

Get Creative. Waste Less. Preserve More.




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