The Christmas Tree Lot

I’ve got mixed feeling about Christmas trees.  I’m concerned that they’re mostly grown unsustainably with herbicides and pesticides, a mono-crop that must be trucked into town from a long ways away to reside in Chico living rooms only to end up clogging the county landfill.  But, I must admit I like to see my neighbors’ brightly colored Christmas trees displayed in their living room windows these long, dark winter evenings.

_MG_5602xmas tree

Yearly, a few days before Thanksgiving, a truck and travel trailer sets up in a Chico parking lot.  A big tent is hoisted and a rental truck arrives with the first load of trees.



Perfectly lush, dark and green, the trees are set out on the bare asphalt of the parking lot, creating for a short time a little evergreen forest.  This yearly ritual has become a sign that the “holiday season” has begun. Riding my bike across the parking lot, I, like everyone else, relish the scent of freshly cut fir.


Though I’ve long known it to be a tradition that’s unsustainable, it’s hard to let go of something so ingrained in personal cultural sentiment. So, over the years I’ve substituted a new tradition for myself.  I salvage a few pruned branches that the Christmas tree workers have discarded in a pile of sawdust and other trash and bring them home in my bike basket where I tie them together with a big red bow and hang them on the front door.  And if I have enough I drape them over the mantle where I can smell the scent of fir that is such a part of my remembrance.  It’s a small gesture I know, particularly since the cuttings themselves are the trimmings of harvested trees, but still it saves a few tree scraps from being an utter waste and satisfies my longing for an old Christmas tradition.

_MG_5596 front door xmas dec

2 thoughts on “The Christmas Tree Lot

  1. Karen, wonderful photos! It is strange that we continue this tradition, and not surprising that it has become so commercialized! But, we do have our tree up and decorated! Merry, merry!

    • I don’t mean that others should do what I do, I’ve just made a decision for myself.
      Hey – change of subject here – have you seen the SGF field trip list? On Friday there’s a Marathon Big Day field trip in Glenn County. We’re going on Phil Johnson’s f.t. on Saturday to the Thermolita After Bay. I’m also thinking about the Paskanta Ranch f.t. on Friday but not sure yet. Phil is a great birder and really nice person. Talk to you soon. Until then, Happy Holidays to you, John and your family. Send a pic of your Christmas tree. As I said, I get vicarious enjoyment from seeing other peoples’ Christmas trees.
      Karen 🙂

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