The first weekend in December for me usually marks the occasion of bringing into our home the Christmas tree. Every year, with the exception of the last, every home I was in enjoyed a cut pine. There really isn't anything that smells more like Christmas to me, than the aroma of pine. One whiff, and I'm transported to the magic and joy of Christmases of my youth.
Which was why it was hard in 2009 to make the decision to change to a plastic tree.
The disposal of the tree, the mess of the needles, the stains of the sap were inconvenient, but not the reason for my choice.
The history of the Christmas tree is pagan in origin. In the depths of a northern hemisphere winter, people would bring into their homes branches and cuttings of evergreen trees, in the hope that a little bit of their green magic would see them through the dark, cold winters to the new life of spring. There was never a destruction of an entire tree, for the purposes of festival or ritual. It was this disregard for treelife that no longer sat well with me - and plus - plastic trees look amazingly like the real thing these days, yes?!
No, I know it's no comparison, but it felt right in my heart.
With this year coming to a close and the plastic tree of last year no longer in my possession, the question of a tree in celebration of Yuletide came up once again. I LOVE festivals! I LOVE ritual! And I love celebration. The question of not having a tree was well, out of the question.
So what to do?
A beautiful friend mentioned her and her family were collecting local fallen wood and were making a tee-pee shaped tree this year! Instantly, I loved! As did my beloved. It was decided *smile*.
So today, the three of us emptied the car of unnecessary clutter (in hindsight, the roof racks would have been a good idea) and made our way, utilising local knowledge, to a small woodland reserve to forage for fallen gum limbs. We were very aware to select branches that didn't outwardly appear to home wee creatures (and sent a silent apology to any creature we were making homeless in the event we got it wrong).
It was a wonderful and very successful afternoon of scouting! We traveled home with twigs in our hair and branches in between us and spent a very soul enriching late afternoon constructing and decorating our 'tree'! On finishing, we fell in love so completely with its presence, we decided it would remain as a constant in our space, to be dressed according to the seasons as they change outside our windows. So our 'seasonal tree' is currently our 'festive' seasonal tree!
Something else pretty awesome happened today, 32 years ago.
My beautiful, talented, creative, artistic, intelligent, business-savvy younger sister Amanda was born.
And heavens am I grateful for her company in my life.
Happy Birthday Sweet Sister.
Sending much love, kisses and wishes across the Tasman to you today.