I am waiting rather impatiently for the December 1st green light to head over to Kitsilano Secondary to purchase our spruce or fir. The scent is intoxicating and every year we add a new decoration or two to the branches and add half a foot in height it seems. A cut tree is not cheap, and purchasing it from students in a basketball court while it’s raining is definitely different than trudging in the snow wielding an axe. But that smell…no matter how realistic they are constructed, the artificial petroleum alternatives leave me cold. Also, a Christmas tree is essentially a crop, grown on a tree farm and replenished each year. Occasional pangs of guilt are involved with cutting down a tree that gave 6-12 years of its growth for one month of pageantry. Yet tradition is hard to break, and trimming the tree brings such joy and evenings curled up in front of the beauty. Do you feel conflicted too? Two UBC forestry graduates have come up with a brilliant solution: Evergrow. Based in Burnaby, Sean Macalister and Jeff Ferguson started Evergrow earlier this year, a live tree rental service focused on earth friendliness and convenience. All trees are grown and nurtured in the Fraser Valley, with the idea that each tree will experience multiple holidays before outgrowing pots and graduating to the ground. The public is able to rent a tree for up to three weeks with the click of a button.
The only catch I see is hefty: $90 to $150 (plus $50 security deposit) depending on variety and size. The totals quoted on the site do include the fact that these trees need year-round nursery care before they make their way to your doorstep, as well as both delivery and post-holiday pick-up fees. It really bites the bullet that being eco-conscious always seems to cost an arm and a leg. It is a hard sell when someone enjoys weaving through rows of trees to hand-pick their perfect Charlie Brown greenery, and when the kind volunteers at Kitsilano Secondary offer to swing by your place at the end of the night with your tree. Not to mention the fact that Ikea boasts trees for $20 a pop with a $20 coupon as a reward, so it feels like a free tree. And you cannot really fault Ikea for this marketing plan to get people shopping in the slow months with their tree rebate; for every tree part of the sale goes towards planting new crops via Tree Canada.
Rent a designer handbag. Rent a wedding dress. Rent a tree. Accumulate less but keep the experience intact. Something to ponder while I pull out the ribbon and glue gun for a decoration-making blitz. What do you do each year? Mix it up (do you decorate your fern or spray paint a branch silver)? Ban all trees? Pull out the faker that pops open like an umbrella? Carry a fresh cut tree on your shoulders?