Does my title make you think there is going to be some profound, spiritual reason behind our choice of Christmas evergreen? Sure, there are many verses in the Bible that mention cedar trees and wood!
But our reason is purely practical, and not the least bit thoughtful. Well, maybe a little thoughtful…
When David and I were getting ready to celebrate our first Christmas together we knew we wanted a live tree. I had one several years in a row before we were married, and I liked them much more than artificial. But if you have ever had a real tree, you will understand why they are also quite frustrating. For months afterwards, we would find needles in the carpet at my mom’s house. And to get the tree INSIDE was quite the group effort. We actually used to bring it in the garage first so that it wouldn’t have as much of a temperature shock, then the next day we would wrap it in a blanket and carry it inside the house. Even doing that, we still lost needles along the way!
David and I still did real trees, and would have to worry about the cat drinking the tree’s water, or the risk of the whole tree falling over (which happened once, and our laminate wood flooring is not the same!). Plus, since we heat with wood, the air in here is quite dry, which causes the needles on the tree to fall even faster. Last year we decided to get a cedar tree instead of a spruce or pine.
Last fall I had actually read a Christmas fiction book that talked about doing a cedar Christmas tree, and I thought that was GENIUS since they don’t lose their needles. Eastern White Cedar trees actually have leaves, not needles, but they are different than what we consider traditional leaves. Cedars have a skinnier, often scaly, trunk, and the leaves are almost lace-like.
This variety of cedar tends to be spindly and not very impressive, but we wanted a rustic looking tree, so this worked out well. And everyone who saw our tree thought it was unique and fit our “rustic” home, too! We were able to have a nice green tree for weeks without worrying about needles dropping, messes being made, or anything like that. And once we were done with the tree, we simply dragged it into the yard and let the birds use it as shelter for winter.
Reasons to consider a cedar Christmas tree
- Less mess to clean up since there are no dropping needles
- The smell is amazing
- Decorating it doesn’t leave your hands and arms covered in scratches (always a problem for me with the other trees!)
- It is unique and unexpected
Sure, there are some cons with cedars. For example, they are not sold in tree lots so finding one may be a challenge (we had access to a private forest and the landowner gave us permission to harvest there). Another potential con is that you cannot decorate it as much as a traditional tree since the branches are not as sturdy. Instead of putting all our ornaments on, we decided to showcase our special and most favourite. One of the other issues with cedar is that they are an allergen that cause a skin irritation in a very small number of people. It is not very common, but it does happen. If you are cramped for space in your home, a cedar may not be the best choice because they tend to have long swooping branches that spread fairly wide. We just trimmed any that were too wide, and it worked out fine.
Overall, we much prefer a cedar to any other conifer tree (even though the cedar has hard leaves instead of needles, it does have cones which makes it a conifer, or “evergreen”). They are unique, easy to maintain, and readily available to us. I encourage you to consider this tree for your own home this year!
I am sure what I am about to say next is pretty obvious, but I will say it anyways. Here at Our Wood Home, we do NOT endorse the practice of harvesting trees from the wild without proper permission. You can’t just walk into the woods with a chainsaw and take your pick…that is very illegal! And irresponsible. Perhaps you are able to harvest from the wild with proper permits so check with your local forestry or parks department. You may also try asking at church, or on Facebook to see if anyone you know has a woodlot they don’t mind sharing.