Real Estate

Island Christmas Tree Alternatives

After many years of experimenting with Christmas tree options, I’m glad to be in a place where almost anything goes. This year I kept it very simple.

Perhaps more than anywhere else in the nation, Floridians seem to find more variations on the Christmas tree than those who live in snow country. Since so many of the traditional Christmas symbols are not part of the Florida experience anyway, we may as well improvise and have fun with it all.

Before moving to Florida from Colorado, we found natural Christmas trees were affordable and a pleasure to bring home. Usually, we bought a permit for a few dollars from the Forest Service, bundled up, and snow-shoed or cross-country skied through deep snow looking for trees that did not have a bright future, for example those growing directly under power lines. This was probably as close as it gets to the classic Christmas tree tradition. It was wonderful, and beautiful, but sometimes it was very cold and it usually took a lot of time.

Christmas tree So we tried buying a live tree one year, which theoretically could be planted outside after Christmas, but that did not work well. I think it’s too much to expect the same tree to survive both indoors by the fire and then outdoors in a blizzard. Our timing in moving it was probably to blame.

We had more success with a large indoor Norfolk pine, which grew in the sunspace that heated our mountain solar home. It had started in a local restaurant as a tiny Christmas table decoration, and had a crook in its trunk, making it a real Charlie Brown tree. But after years in our solarium, it had straightened and made an acceptable Christmas tree.