We did something different this year for our “Solstice tree,” although it looks more like a “Solstice bush.” As you may remember from recent years, I’ve felt that I should not cut a tree down for the holidays. I don’t have a fireplace or wood stove, and I don’t have enough storage to keep it around for Northern Rivers’ bonfires later on. Since I rent, I can’t just leave a tree outside my apartment until such an occasion either. If there’s a green waste day, it’s not in any of my rental info, and I don’t really trust my apartment complex when it comes to it… My family also doesn’t want to use the fake, plastic trees that are mass-produced in factories. We had been decorating a medium-sized potted dwarf spruce, but, unfortunately, our friend was not doing so well last year and didn’t survive. I only have three potted evergreens left, and they’re all small – pretty much saplings. When the dwarf spruce died, I decided that I am done buying potted trees until I have land where I can plant them.
This year, we decided to cut some low branches from a blue spruce. At the Arbor Day event held by Thousand Island Land Trust this year, Weretoad and I learned that trees can get infections when their boughs hang low enough to touch the ground. I also know, through my father’s input, my research, and observations in the wild, that deer pull the lowest branches off of evergreen trees to eat in the winter. Perhaps the trees suffer a little, but it also seems like pruning is inevitable and helpful. I know from gardening that many plants require regular pruning (natural or manmade) to grow. To keep the branches robust, we’ve put them in a large, weighted vase with water. Just as with any other bouquet, I’ll have to check it regularly to keep it looking nice.
So our “bouquet” of spruce boughs may not look like a traditional holiday tree, but it’s special to us. It’s also easier to display all of the ornaments we’ve made or been gifted on the large boughs compared to a dwarf tree. When the holiday season is over, the branches will be very easy for us to transport to the forest to decompose.