December 25th is a huge international Christian celebration in countries all over the world; people take the day off work, stay at home and enjoy relaxing with their loved ones. Even for those of us who are not particularly religious you still have the opportunity to have valuable time with family and friends, have some fun, exchange gifts, and eat traditional Christmas turkey with all the trimmings.
Boxing Day is an extra reason to stay at home with the family and in the UK and other European countries, it’s a public holiday where offices and banks are closed, another traditional feast of roast lamb or beef is consumed and many of the shops have major sales.
The build up to Christmas is exciting and there’s a lot of preparation that goes into making it perfect. It used to be that you’d have to shop for food and necessities as stores were closed for a fixed period, however these days shops often only close for the day itself, and some even open on that day too so if you do need something it’s easy enough to nip out and get it.
The Christmas tree is one of the main decisions you’ll be making, particularly if you’re buying a real one. Real trees suddenly appear on sale in empty parking lots and the supermarket, some people even take a hike to the nearest forest looking for farm grown real trees. These are a good option as generally a tree farm will plant 2 or 3 seedlings for every real tree harvested, and with one acre of a tree farm producing enough oxygen for around 20 people they are an environmentally-friendly alternative to artificial trees. Scotland is a major producer of real Xmas trees and many have websites where you can look, order, pay and have delivered within a few days and in time for Christmas.
Amongst the top selling varieties of trees are the Nordman Fir Christmas tree, the Fraser Fir Christmas tree, and the traditional British Norway Spruce Xmas tree. A natural tree truly brings the true fragrance and mood of Christmas into the home, and it’s not only the Christian religions that use the evergreen tree as a holiday decoration, in the Jewish community pine trees are also a popular seasonal adornment as they’re regarded as a symbol of stamina and survival due to their ability to survive the ruthless cold winter months. For hundreds of years they have been a part of winter festivities and continue to be a firmly established part of our holiday ritual.
Investing in real Xmas trees from a farm will reduce your carbon footprint as you don’t have to make the journey to the garden centre or market to search for one. They also help the environment by removing carbon dioxide from the air, one acre of trees can provide enough oxygen for at least 18 people, and two and a half acres of fir trees will absorb in the region of 6 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. The farm will select and cut it, and deliver directly to you so the mileage is reduced and the tree as fresh as can be. Trees grown on a farm are generally grown as a sustainable crop; this means that for every tree harvested at least 1 more is planted to guarantee that production is sustainable.
Christmas trees can be recycled, just contact your local council and ask them about the services they offer. Some people think that it’s better for the environment to buy artificial trees however these are not bio-degradable, unlike real trees which are a renewable resource. The production of artificial trees uses large quantities of liquid fossil fuel – which is a non renewable resource and many of them are made in countries with little control over missions of noxious gases.