It’s that time of year: The Holiday Period Continues!

Inasmuch as I have cut down on my daily “NEWS” intake, somehow it just seems impossible to get away from the “Doom and Gloom” news reports. Recently a friend of mine decided to cancel the celebration of the Holiday period, and advised her friends and family to not expect any gifts. She advised them that if they felt the compulsion to do so, there are several charitable organizations that she supports that could use the donations.

Another friend of mine pulled a rather nasty trick on me last year and advised me she was not putting up a Christmas tree. I took the news rather badly; since she has a young daughter. I could not imagine that her daughter would wake up on Christmas morning without see the sparkling lights and decorations. She finally confessed that she indeed put up a Christmas tree.

As I view this particular holiday season myself, it maybe more of a challenge than in past years. I like to believe that of all years, the Grinch will not be allowed to try and ruin this year’s Holidays.

Trying to balance the good news and the bad news, I am sure people are struggling with these issues each day. On the positive side, there have been several historic moments we have all witnessed: First, we elected our first African-American President, Mr. Barack Obama, and on a local  issue, Connecticut voted in favor of Same-Sex Marriage. Both of these events, I do hope in time, will provide seeds of growth, opportunity, and open constructive dialogue.

Speaking of seeds, I am sure many people have heard of the devastating wild forest fires that occurred this year. I learned about the following program purely by accident when I had a death in the family. Should you wish to plant a memorial tree, go to the Department of Forestry:  then click on Can I plant a memorial tree in a national forest?

If you would like to take it one step further I suggest you contact your local State Department of Forestry  and make arrangements with them to purchase tree seedlings to be planted in a state of your choosing. It is best to work with your local area in regards to these programs because each area supports those trees that best grow in that area.

Now that I have mentioned how one can go about planting trees, I do find great pleasure in decorating a live tree. In the area where I live, there are several Christmas Tree farms. One season I actually believed I was in a scene of “Christmas in Connecticut” as my grandmother and I drove around the area. We followed a cardboard sign advertising Christmas trees “For Sale.” We drove up a dirt road, the owner came out, and asked me to hop in the tractor to pick out a tree. The whole venture and experience is one I will never forget.

If you are able to get in your car and travel to a Christmas Tree farm, it certainly is a fun thing to do, but don’t forget to bring a saw to cut your favorite tree down. Most of the tree farms do have staff that are able and gladly assist you, since not all of us are country people.

In the State of Connecticut there is The Connecticut Christmas Tree Growers Association, and their website is: http://www.ctchristmastree.org/index.html then, on the left hand side click “Christmas Trees And Products”, then again in the lefft hand column, click on “CT Retail Trees” where you’ll find:  “Retail or Choose & Cut/Harvest”.  This will give you a map of the State of Connecticut and it’s counties, just click onto the county and you will find several of the Tree Farms within the State (please note that this is not an inclusive list).  Some of these farms offer hayrides for all to enjoy and hot apple cider. It really is a full day of fun. While you can enjoy the countryside, you can also take a break and have a cozy lunch in one of the many local restaurants.  Just remember to dress appropriately, it can get quite cold, unless you’re the one doing the actual chopping of the tree.  A good pair of boots is also HIGHLY recommended.

If you live in a warmer region, or you have a yard that is not frozen yet, you can always purchase a live Christmas tree. Then when you decide to take the decorations down, you can plant the tree in your yard, and that holiday will always be remembered as you watch it grow.

The next, more imported, step is to “take care” of your tree. Nobody wants to be on the news because of a fire. Therefore, be sure to follow some rather easy steps. because you are now inviting a live plant into your home: For Care of a Christmas Tree:

Store your tree in a cool, moist place, preferably standing in a container of water, (inside an unheated garage) or (under a deck) until you are ready to set the tree up. Do not remove tree wrapping at this time. This will help the tree retain its moisture. You can store the tree for 3 to 4 weeks in a cool area out of the wind and sun without damage to the tree.

When you are ready to set the tree up in your home, cut one-half to one inch off the base of the trunk. This will help the tree to absorb water.

Place your tree in a stand and fill it with fresh water. Hot water may be beneficial but no stand additives have proven to be more effective than plain water. If you allow the water level to drop below the fresh cut, a new seal will form over the stem.

Display your tree in a cool place but out of a draft. Fireplaces, radiators, and other heat sources can prematurely dry your tree.

Remember: trees are very thirsty. To replenish moisture lost during storage they may drink between 2 pints to over a gallon of water a day. Therefore, use a water-bearing stand with a capacity of a gallon or more. Check the stand twice daily and supply fresh water as needed.

One of the pleasures I get in decorating a tree in unwrapping all the ornaments that I have collected over the years. Seeing my old friends is my personal present, but this year as I see and watch the lights my thoughts are going to wander to all the possibilities and promises  for next year.

I wish you and all a most wonderful holiday, and may it of great hope for all.

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