(December 13, 2007) Hear the audio version

My husband and I have worked out our “who does what” responsibilities quite nicely over 26 years of marriage and raising three daughters: he does most of the grocery shopping, I shop the farmers markets, he does the dishes, I bake the gluten-free bread, he takes the kids shopping for our Christmas tree . . . make that used to. Year before last, with two daughters on their way home from college and one husband on a business trip, I decided it was my time to pick out the tree. It is, after all, my favorite Christmas decoration. I love the smell of the tree and the ornaments I take out every year, and the light it brings into our home in the dark of December.

I chose to avoid pricey lots on the Peninsula and tried something different. That Saturday, my youngest and I drove over the hill and through the traffic to Half Moon Bay and a Christmas tree farm. Of course I had no idea how difficult it would be to saw through a tree trunk. Molly and I took turns for an hour and had gloriously sore muscles to show for it the next day. We dragged our tree to the stand where a stocking-capped helper put netting around it and tied it to the roof of the car. That part was easy. And I know the tree was cheaper than Bill normally paid. So, Molly and I went back last year . . . and chose a skinnier tree.

After spending much of this year trying to be “greener,” I worried I was making a big environmental boo-boo. Perhaps a fake tree would be a softer touch on Mother Earth than hacking a tree from the land and sticking it indoors for a few weeks, then depositing it curbside – to be recycled. But still . . .

Happily, I don’t have to go faux. Most fake trees come from China. We know the reputation those imports have earned this year. While fake trees can be re-used, they are not recyclable. My tree farm tree is only a 13-mile drive away, while the fake tree has a 6,000 mile voyage. Plus, I’m supporting a Bay Area farmer, and I can see for myself the smaller trees planted to replace those we take away. I did buy new LED Christmas tree lights this year, and vow to put fewer presents (all “wrapped” in reusable bags) under this year’s tree that will smell just like Christmas.

With a Perspective, I’m Debbie Duncan.