The tradition here in Finland is to decorate the tree only on Christmas Eve itself, but our habit has always been to do it a day or so earlier, just after my in-laws arrived from eastern Finland with a tree freshly cut from their farmer neighbor’s forest.
|A landscape made for Christmas, Repovesi National Park. |
Photo: M . Passinen.
An interesting thing about Christmas trees sold in Finland is that most of them are just the leftovers from full-grown trees that have been harvested in the normal course of commercial logging. The loggers simply keep the top two or three meters a 30-meter tall spruce and put it aside for the Christmas tree market. As far as I know, almost no trees are grown for the sole purpose of brightening up someone’s living room for a week or so. Maybe that’s why I’ve never seen a single Christmas-tree farm anywhere in Finland.
My late parents had a tree farm in Georgia, a small one. After they had sold their mom-and-pop dry-cleaning shop and became retired, they decided to turn the unused pasture around our house into a tree farm. It was a brilliant idea. It gave them a way to stay busy, especially around Christmastime, make some extra money and -- maybe just as importantly -- interact with the public, something I think they were missing after they stopped running a small business where townspeople came and went all day. The farm was a great business for my parents. They had many repeat customers, people who would drive up from places like Atlanta every year to walk around the farm and find just the right tree for my father to cut for them.
|Commercial X-mas tree farm in Iowa.|
But what seemed a bit too strange for my Finnish wife was how my parents would spruce up the white pines for the cutting season by -- white pines being, well, not so dark -- spraying them with green dye to make them “greener”. America being America, that’s just the way things are done there in the Christmas tree growing business.
Whether dyed, naturally green, or even 100% plastic, you have to admit that once you’ve added the lights, the ornaments, and, not least of all, the presents, any Christmas tree in the home brings the right amount of cheer and excitement for the holiday season.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
|Christmas tree in Denmark. Photo: Malene Thyssen,|