Monday, 14 December 2009

Oh Christmas Tree!

I have always liked seasons, the sea of orange, yellow, brown and red leaves that paint a Canadian forest in autumn and the peaceful snowfalls creating a white blanket everywhere I look during the Canadian Christmas season.  

And so it is with great sadness that the Globetrotter announces that we will be spending this Christmas in Madagascar.   The not-so-Christmas-y atmosphere will be all the less so because I am not even sure that we will be Getting A Tree.  Getting A Tree creates big ethical problems here.  You see, in Canada, the United States and even Europe, there are farms where trees are grown for the very purpose of serving as a Christmas tree one day.  You therefore don't have to worry about deforestation when you Get A Tree.  Better yet, you can buy a tree still planted in a pot and plant it in your backyard after Christmas.

Here in Madagascar, you have two options:

1) Buy a Christmas tree that has been cut down in a forest, thereby contributing to the massive deforestation efforts already at work in this country, or
2) Buy a Chinese-manufactured artificial tree, made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is not biodegradeable, pollutes and and is replete with phthalates, dioxin, ethyl chloride, etc. etc.  You get the picture.  What's more, apparently, many artificial trees contain lead.  Eek.

Last week, I mentioned that we needed to think about Getting A Tree, and the Bambina said, "We don't need a tree.  We can put the presents somewhere else."

That's my girl.

Well, in the end we did end up Getting A Tree - a special Madagascar tree.  Here it is.

The same trees are planted just out side the luxurious Colbert Hotel in downtown Antananarivo.  It's not a pine tree but I like it because it's simple, it's local and we will be able to plant it in our yard after Christmas.


olga vladimirsky said...

The tree you bought is Norfolk pine, as far as I can tell. We have one in our house as a houseplant and we decorate it for Christmas sometimes too. It can not hold too many decorations, but serves the purpose.
It is hard to be out of your normal environment for holidays. When we lived in Louisiana we used to make a fire in the fireplace and open all the doors because it was too warm for fire, but being from the north, Christmas and New Year meant cold and snow for us.
Merry Christmas!

The Globetrotter Parent said...

You think? I don't know. I checked out some images of the Norfolk pine and the needles on it seem a bit longer. There's a name for the tree here in Madagascar but of course it's a Malagasy name and noone seems to know what the translation is in French or English. Merry Christmas!