To Tree or Not to Tree

By on 10 December, 2012 in Carole King, Holidays with 0 Comments

Photo by waferboard

I think one of my most important rites of passage as an adult was to select my own Christmas tree. When I was younger, I always dreamed of where I would put my own tree, what kind I would have and what sorts of decorations I would adorn it with. Who remembers that awesome Christmas tree sales lot on the corner of Fairview Avenue and South Court Street with bare light bulbs outlining the rows and rows of assorted kinds and sizes of trees? They even had a paint booth that they would spray paint a tree whatever color your heart desired. Each year my dad would load us in the car and off to the lot we went on our annual quest for the perfect tree. Even in college, my roommates would suffer through my small but festive tree that I would insist upon putting up in the crowded dorm room during final exams. The first Christmas I spent in my newly purchased home I had a 10 foot high by 10 foot wide Eastern Red Cedar and it literally took up the entire breakfast room-wall to wall, floor to ceiling…and it was covered in lavender bows. All my dreams had come true!

I went through years of “Charlie Brown” fresh cut trees from local tree farms. My theory on cutting down a locally farmed tree was that its main purpose for existence was to be cut down for a Christmas tree and it was my duty to help it achieve its goal. I really enjoyed the annual trip to a local Christmas tree farm, hiking through the rows of fragrant evergreens with them all screaming…”Cut me, take me!” The Curb Market on Madison Avenue always had wonderful trees and the vendors could tell you exactly where they got the tree from and even the I knew I was supporting a local farmer.

I then went through a green-guilt phase for destroying trees and sending them to the landfill. I began to purchase fresh potted trees that I would later plant but my yard became cluttered with assorted evergreens of all shapes and sizes of “Christmas Trees Past.” To date, I counted 2 Eastern Red Cedars, a huge Carolina Sapphire Cypress, three California Junipers shrubs, two Deodar Cedars, a Lorepetalum and even a Crepe Myrtle that had a really awesome bare trunk when decorated.

With a full yard I had to re-evaluate that practice and tried the fake tree route. I bought a small six foot plastic green tree with a metal stand and kept it in the basement complete with its lights. The first week in December I just brought it up, dusted it off, plugged it in, and unpacked my favorite ornaments. The last week in December I just put it back in a large black plastic bag and off to the basement it went. I even purchased an eight foot lime green aluminum tree at the Junior League Rummage Sale for $5 and thought I was saving the planet!

But this year as the time approaches I’m starting to review my options again. I’ve seen some really beautiful natural fresh cut trees for sale at reasonable prices in locally owned lots around town. As I drive up Madison Avenue past the Curb Market I see lots of fresh options awaiting me in the parking lot. So the time is drawing near and I guess I will have to make a decision soon. All of my neighborhoods have their trees and lights up already and I surely can’t have the reputation as the Parkway Scrooge!

Carole King (not the singer, just the hummer) enjoys midtown living from South Capitol Parkway in Capitol Heights where she has lived for 25+years. Carole has been the historic properties curator for the Landmarks Foundation that manages Old Alabama Town for 28 years and is passionate about neighborhoods, their architectural character, their people, and their preservation!

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