I’ve always found it strange celebrating Christmas with a pine tree and carols about jingle bells, sleighs and snowmen when the holiday falls in Australia’s midsummer. (In our house we also celebrate Yule in July.)
A fake Christmas tree has always been our choice for decorating at Christmas – not only because fresh trees are hard to come by here, but because our preference is to leave fresh trees where they can do the most good – in the earth, growing strong and acting as Gaia’s air conditioners!
But I know some subscribers are from the northern hemisphere and you may well have used a fresh tree for your Yuletide celebrations. So … what do you do with the tree once the holidays are over? Do you remove the decorations, clean up the needles and then drag it to the roadside for collection by the rubbish truck?
Give a thought to the tree this year – honour it for the joy it brought you during your family holiday celebrations. Here is one idea from L. Cota Nupa Maka:
After removing the decorations, take the tree outside to your yard and set it in a tub of sand so it stands upright. Then decorate it with dried fruits, nuts and cranberries. Mix a bowl of suet with bird seed, honey and peanut butter and pack this mixture into pine cones that can then be hung on the tree. Instead of throwing out old or unused food, continue to add it to your ‘living’ tree throughout the winter, and you could even add pieces of orange or grapes or other winter fruits.
Local wildlife are then free to feast on your offerings and your tree continues to serve a useful purpose through the remainder of winter!
As the northern winter then turns to spring and the festival of Imbolc (Feb. 2) you could honour the return of the sun as he grows stronger with each passing day in the traditional manner of having a bonfire. (This is the first of the Fire Festivals but if it’s still too cold outside you could wait till Ostara – 21 March – or even Beltane – 1 May – if your tree lasts that long!)
Obviously this is NOT something we can do in Australia where we often finds ourselves struggling with total fire bans. But you could perhaps keep the wood in the wood pile for later use in the winter.
If you regularly use a real tree each year perhaps you might consider an artificial one in future? If the tradition is too ingrained in your family however, then at least spare a thought for the tree and perhaps start this new tradition of honouring the tree at the passing of the holiday season.
© Earth Goddess Wisdom – www.earthgoddesswisdom.com