I would like to take this opportunity to express my sympathy for everyone who currently works in a retail environment – as I did a few years ago. By now you have probably been subjected to countless renditions of Holly-Jolly Christmas, and if you have to hear Jingle Bells one more time, you may end up dashing... in a one-horse open sleigh! Between the onslaught of relentless Christmas commercials and the stress of packed shopping malls, it's easy to lose track of the true Christmas spirit.
Still, nothing beats the moment when you catch that first whiff of fresh pine tree on your neighborhood street. These days, I invest in a good pine-scented candle: a pang of guilt about all those discarded trees – and the desire to never have to vacuum needles again – led me to buy a hot-pink fake tree a few years ago. Real or fake, big or small, traditional or totally-out-there, the set-up of the tree - along with the promise of family gatherings, holiday cheer and quality time - really kicks off the season for me.
Concerns for the environment have led to many different iterations and interpretations of the traditional tree. Just last week, I visited Block Island, one of the many places on the coast that now proudly displays a lobster trap tree. Another trend that started here is the driftwood tree.
The environmental spirit has encouraged some to create a tree out of recycled bottles, the green color works perfectly!
For the book worms among you, I give you several easy-to-recreate ideas for a book tree.
If you're superstitious, you may want to skip the ladder-tree. For everyone else: this will take you all of two minutes to set up, and is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face.
And for those of you short on floor space, there is the tree-on-the-wall, real or fake.
I love the idea of an edible Christmas tree, but let's be realistic, it would be long gone by the time Christmas eve rolls around. Also, my children think the broccoli tree is a cruel joke.
Last but not least, there is the artsy tree, the beauty on the left is made from hand-blown murano glass, the one in the middle is a cool arrangement of fluorescent light fixtures, and the one on the right is a futuristic hologram at the Dutch Rijksmuseum.
Whatever shape or material your tree, I wish you all many moments of peace and joy this season, surrounded by family and friends. Happy Holidays!