Northeast Wisconsin
December 2010

December 2010

Each month we get a lot of interesting and informative articles from our contributors. I’m constantly learning new things, and I’m also given the opportunity to look at what I thought I knew from a completely different perspective.

This month, there’s no shortage of great articles in "Nature’s Pathways." But one that really struck me concerns the "greening" of Christmas. The "green" that author JC Paustian references has to do with how the holidays are decidedly not eco-friendly.

I’ve shared before how I feel that the holiday season is less appealing the older I get. I won’t get started on the over-commercialization, the increased pressure to do and spend more, and the unrealistic expectations that are rarely met. But now I’ve learned just how bad our conspicuous consumption negatively impacts the environment. It’s not pretty.

One positive thing that I took away from the article is that real Christmas trees are better than fake trees, at least from an environmental perspective. We’ve been getting a real tree for a few years now. Initially, I was a reluctant participant in this annual rite. Being able to pull a tree out of a cardboard box and fluff up the "needles" for instant holiday décor appeals to my practical, less sentimental nature.

However, nothing beats the scent of a fresh tree. Getting bundled up, driving an hour to a tree farm, trekking through freshly fallen snow and choosing the perfect tree has become a tradition for us. Sure, it’s a bit of a hassle, but the experience evokes a certain Currier and Ives nostalgia that makes even my Scrooge-like heart melt a little. I remind myself that it’s the experience that counts, that making memories with my family and sharing something they’ll always remember is what matters. Sadly, I know that as my kids get older, we’ll have fewer of these experiences. I need to cherish them while I can.

This December, take the time to make some memories with friends and loved ones. Appreciate what you have and be kind to those who are less fortunate. May you experience the wonder and joy of the season and let it carry you through the year.

And, of course, have a healthy, happy 2011!

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