A Yearly Christmas Tragedy, I Mean Tradition
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A Yearly Christmas Tragedy, I Mean Tradition

November 29th, 2012 by Kyra Deblaker-Gebhard · 8 Comments · Capitol Hill

Each year you will inevitably head to your local store, school or church parking lot and pick out the innocent centerpiece of your holiday selfishness: your Christmas tree. You’ll pay the man with the sad eyes who is dressed in some sort of winter armor before you strap your prize to the roof of your car and bring her home. You’ll saw off one last bit of her trunk—as if cutting her from her life sustaining root system wasn’t enough—and set her in the metal stand, twisting the eye hooks until they are practically piercing her trunk. Yep, she’s all set. Then you’ll bring her into the house, put on some music—maybe even drink a glass of wine or two—and hang lights and ornaments from her quickly decomposing branches. Finally, after you are done tacking on ornaments, twisting the stand into place and tweaking the lights one last time, you’ll take a picture and post it online, thumbing your nose at Mother Nature as you and your friends admire your handy work on Facebook. And to think your profile picture was taken this past summer when you hiked through the woods with some friends. Hiking through the woods? More like stalking your prey!

“What a beautiful tree,” writes Sally.

It’s not a tree anymore, Sally. It’s a Christmas tragedy.

After a day of struggling to soak up water through her trunk, the life begins to drain slowly from her once bright green needles. Soon she will shed her needles as if they were tears. She will barely make it to the Epiphany before you grow tired of cleaning up after her, and so you will undress her and put her on the curb quite unceremoniously.

All she wanted was to feel the winter snow on her branches, but instead some dog will pee on her while she waits for a man to throw her into the back of a truck and turn her into mulch.

Happy Christmas.


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  • hillres

    Can you maybe just stick to neighborhood news?

  • caphillbilly


  • Michael

    Or you could just substitute “tree” with “child laborer in an artificial tree factory” and not really have to change much else. Maybe change “winter armor” to “nothing to guard against PVC fumes”.

    Not sure what the point was here.

  • calvin

    Hyperbole fail.

  • CornFieldTransplant

    And to think, without all of those tree farms, these thousand of poor, innocent gifts from Gaia herself would be left to live out a life of complete freedom. Wrong! They never would have existed. These trees were propagated and grown for that purpose specifically. Tens of thousands of trees and growing around this country, providing immensely important ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, etc. How completely misinformed. You story is bad and you should feel bad.

  • brian

    i dont things its necessary to write mean-spirited comments. so you didnt likethe story, gheesh.

  • MDS

    Here we go again! I am originally from the Bay Area but now I live in Chicago. Both places are like DC — tons of Christmas trees. If I were to guess I would say that more than 10% of homes have some sort of tree or other holiday decoration. (As an aside, the food scene in the Bay Area is awesome!)

    This issue is one where The Hill can take some leadership. We need to have Washington step in and either eliminate or strictly limit trees and other holiday decorations. They are hugely wasteful of resources and keep people from productive work. I would place a tax on holiday decorations and make it in reverse proportion to the decorator’s household income. Those earning the least would pay thousands. While this sounds regressive, it will actually benefit everyone. All but the wealthy will be unable to afford decorations. The wealthy, in turn, will have the resources to do really attractive decorations. (Not tawdry displays like those found in less affluent homes and neighborhoods.) Some very good work on this topic is already under way at the respected Flinders Institute.

    My friend Chester Henry, a holiday rationalist, put it right when he said, “When it comes to trees and poems, Joyce Kilmer got it dead wrong.”

  • Rick LaChance

    I don’t know what kind of stuff MDS is thinking, but give me none of it. I worked with Chester Henry both before and after his time at the Flinders Institute, and it was exactly this type of mandication that caused him to leave. Saying that people should tax holiday decorations regressively? His whole point was that they should be taxed severely at every level to discourage overconsumption, except for the federal holidays (e.g., Veterans’ Day). Even Joyce Kilmer would know that. You should be ashamed of yourself.