Why I Didn’t get a Traditional Christmas Tree This Year

I do love trimming up a gorgeous Christmas tree, and over the years I have amassed a beautiful collection of glittering, festive ornaments. The tree usually takes a prominent spot in our living room and we rearrange the furniture to accommodate it.  My favorite part is how Thomas helps us put the ornaments on, and the tree ultimately ends up feeling very bottom heavy. Then we sit and watch Christmas movies in the twinkling glow of the tree’s tiny white lights. Magic!

Well, this year, we decided to change our approach for several reasons, most of them having to do with our adventurous ten-month-old baby. Lucy is an explorer by nature and would rather get into things she should not, than say, play with baby toys.  As our house is small, the main play area is our living room, and for the most part it is baby-proofed, so she can be free to roam and be safe while doing so. Adding a Christmas tree into this environment sounded like a recipe for constant headaches and countless “No, Lucy, don’t touch that!” moments.

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Instead of heading out to cut down a traditional Christmas tree, we went to Bremerton City Nursery and chose a five-foot-tall Leyland Cypress in a pot. We asked the gal on duty that day, Alex, lots of questions, and learned that if we were careful, we could keep this tree alive and use it again next year or plant it in the yard this spring.  We left feeling very encouraged that we could make it work. The following tips just about sum up her advice, but if you decide to do this yourself, I would certainly consult the experts in person, since I am not an authority.

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  • The tree can survive indoors for around three weeks, given the care it needs.
  • For a few days after you bring it home, leave it on a covered porch, next to the house, or in a daylight garage to ease into acclimating it to life indoors.
  • Place the tree near a window, so it can get natural light.
  • Give it lots of water, since the air in your home is much drier than it is outside, especially with the heater running.
  • Speaking of heaters, if you must place it near a heat vent, position the louvers on the grate to point the air away from the tree, or close them to block the airflow completely.
  • Get it back outside after Christmas, under cover for a few days, then it can be out on the patio, soaking up the winter rain.

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There are many varieties to choose from. Our Leyland Cypress has sort of a Charlie Brown feel, but we dressed it up with various metallic ornaments and a vintage paper garland that I made. I tried putting lights on it, but they looked a bit bulky. I just might order a string of those teeny, tiny “micro” lights, and see if they blend in any better.

micro fairy lights

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I put the tree’s pot inside a plastic garbage bag, to hold the excess liquid from watering it, then disguised that with a burlap coffee sack. Now it sits on our buffet in the dining room, and adds lots of holiday charm to the space. We eat in the dining room three times a day, so we get many opportunities to appreciate the tree’s simplistic beauty. I hung cedar garland with white lights in the living room, and decorated every surface with something Christmas-y, so we aren’t want for a festive feel at all. While I did miss the ritual of going to the tree farm with friends to select the perfect tree, I thoroughly enjoy our potted tree and the house doesn’t feel any less magical!

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2 thoughts on “Why I Didn’t get a Traditional Christmas Tree This Year

  1. Great choice, Betsy! With your benign maritime climate, the tree should do all right. I hope it doesn’t grow too fast so that you can use it for several years. May have to do some pruning. Enjoy! There on the table, Lucy can admire it without having to grab it (I hope).

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