Our Christmas tree this year did not come from a farm or a department store. We found it in our own yard.
It’s a white pine that was shading some of our plants and dying back at the top due to a disease. Betsy had been eying it for several years as a potential Christmas tree.
So a week before Christmas, we tromped through the snow, saw in hand, to harvest it. We cut the 12-foot-high tree three feet from the bottom, a technique called “coppicing.” We hope the tree will grow back. Maybe it will provide another Christmas tree in 15 years.
We’ve seen Christmas trees that are so perfectly tapered I’ve felt and smelled them to make sure they are real. No one would mistake our tree for one you’d buy at Wal-Mart.
We had to cut its top off so it would fit in our eight-foot-high living room, and its limbs jut out haphazardly. Its top is a stump that’s lower than many of the branches. We think it’s beautiful.
The joy of real Christmas trees is partly bringing something from nature inside the house. In the presence of our homely tree, we imagine we are actually in the forest.
And this Christmas tree fits in well with the frugal lifestyle we describe in this blog. Part of that lifestyle is making do with what’s available, and seeing it not as deprivation but as an opportunity for creativity.
If our tree is imperfect, that seems to fit in with the Christmas story of a baby being born in a stable and laid in a manger.
And it fits in with a quotation that’s on our refrigerator: “To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury; and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable; and wealthy, not rich…to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common…” (William Henry Channing, American transcendentalist)
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